A weird thing happened...

Kacey

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Shortly after I got home from my TKD class, my doorbell rang; hinking it was a neighbor who had just called and left a message, I answered the door, and this young-looking man was standing there. He was wearing a light blue shirt with the words "GE Appliances" embroidered on it, had an ID badge of some sort (didn't get a good look through the screen door and didn't want to open it) on his belt, and a portfolio case in his hand. He identified himself as an advertising director for GE, but didn't show me his ID (it stayed on his belt) asked if I was the homeowner. Then he asked if he could put a sign in my yard; I said no. He looked quite shocked when I said no, and asked again; I said no again. He then said it would only be for a few months, and I said it would be a pain to mow around, and I didn't want any signs in my yard. Then my phone started ringing, I said goodbye, shut the door, and called my neighbor back (she'd hung up before I could get to the phone).

When I talked to my neighbor, the same man had rung her doorbell about 3:30, and she had been feeling ill and had refused to speak to him. He came back to her house about 7:45 (just before he came to my house) and she refused to open the door because she didn't know him. He also rang the doorbell of the next house over, where an elderly lady lives alone - and when she didn't answer he started banging on the door; when she still didn't answer he eventually left.

I called GE Appliances - but the only number I could find was for the appliance question center - and they said they knew nothing about this person or program, but couldn't imagine why anyone would be knocking on random doors to put signs in their yards - I mean, all my appliances are Kenmore, which he had no way of knowing, but that would (to me anyway) make it even less likely that I'd want to put a sign for GE in my yard.

While I was on the phone with GE, my neighbor called the police non-emergency line (he didn't do anything threatening, but it was kind of creepy - especially since he went to her house twice, and one time appeared to be staring at the license plate on her car - makes me glad mine was in the garage). They agreed that this was pretty odd, and asked her to have me call, because she couldn't give a good description, so I called them back. They're sending an officer to look around the neighborhood.

Has anybody else had an experience like this? If so, what happened? How did you react? If not (or even if so) how would you react?
 

Drac

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Call the local boys and report a suspicious person and vehicle..Tell the responding officers any kind of interaction( if any) you had with the subject...
 

bluemtn

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I haven't had anyone suspicious knocking, but I would've reacted the same exact way you did. Very smart of you all for not answering the door. It sounds like they were looking to see who would be alone and willing to let them "put up the sign". Obviously, they don't need to get in the door to put up a little sign, but you said he was looking at her license plate? That really is strange...
 

Drac

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Also don't be afraid to give your name..A resident calling usually gets a quicker response..The caller ID at the station knows who you are if you're calling from a house phone...
 

kidswarrior

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Sounds like you and all your neighbors did the right things. It's excellent that you all have each others' numbers and know the others' situations (elderly, call one another over something out of the ordinary, etc.). I think your own little neighborhood watch program functioned like clockwork. Calling PD was a very good idea. Too often, I believe, we think 'I don't want to bother them over nothing', when in fact, as Drac said, they want to know--and they may be better judges of what's 'nothing' and what's something. Too much about this guy screams Scam to have ignored it, and you all picked up on that. :asian:

All around, great job! Glad you're all safe. Keep the watch going, but don't worry--you've all got great instincts. :karate:
 
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Kacey

Kacey

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Also don't be afraid to give your name..A resident calling usually gets a quicker response..The caller ID at the station knows who you are if you're calling from a house phone...

Oh, I did - I gave them my name, number, address, and told them that the officer was welcome to stop by, but I didn't know what else I could add.

I went out to walk my dog before it got dark and ran into another neighbor, a teenage girl walking her dog - she said she's seen the guy working his way through the neighborhood for several days. Another neighbor I stopped to talk to told me he'd done the same thing on his street, the next block over from mine - knocked on doors, appeared to not believe "no" as an answer, came back to doors that weren't answered - but that he hadn't opened his security/storm door, didn't have his screen in yet, and couldn't really hear what the guy was saying.
 

kidswarrior

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Also don't be afraid to give your name..A resident calling usually gets a quicker response..The caller ID at the station knows who you are if you're calling from a house phone...
Great advice. I've found that when I do this the dispatcher often gets much more interested. Also, if they ask me if I'm willing to sign a complaint, meet the officers at the door (if late), give a more detailed description to responding officers, or in any other way cooperate, PD seems to get just a little more serious. Not that they aren't already, of course, but the volume of calls must be horrendous, so the more serious and ready to step out I am, the better the reception. After all, they're human too, and have to decide how to 'triage' calls. :ultracool
 

jks9199

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Ditto to Drac's comments...

You can call it in anonymously, but it ties the cops's hands. A complainant who leaves their name -- and even better, agrees to be seen -- has much more credibility than an anonymous call. We can justify detaining someone off of that call alone, if there's a name attached. We can't without more corroboration on an anonymous call.

In this case -- I suspect that he was casing the area; why would you want to let them put a sign in your yard, without giving you anything in return?

Again -- just to be clear... If you see something suspicious, call it in. You can stay anonymous if you want (I've given "N. E. Mouse" as my name once or twice when a persistent dispatcher got on my nerves). Or you can leave your name and ask to be seen. What's the worst that'll happen? The dispatchers prioritize calls; they won't send someone on that unless they have the people to do it, and they won't hesitate to pull them off of it for an emergency that demands their services. So... what's the worst that'll happen? You keep a cop busy instead of writing someone a ticket!
 

kidswarrior

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Oh, I did - I gave them my name, number, address, and told them that the officer was welcome to stop by, but I didn't know what else I could add.

I went out to walk my dog before it got dark and ran into another neighbor, a teenage girl walking her dog - she said she's seen the guy working his way through the neighborhood for several days. Another neighbor I stopped to talk to told me he'd done the same thing on his street, the next block over from mine - knocked on doors, appeared to not believe "no" as an answer, came back to doors that weren't answered - but that he hadn't opened his security/storm door, didn't have his screen in yet, and couldn't really hear what the guy was saying.

Great neighborhood! Our current 'hood is similar. Where we lived the previous 25 years, tho', chances were the bad guy was one of the neighbors--or one of their crack head/banger friends. Glad you have such nice neighbors, who all talk and watch out for one another.
 

kidswarrior

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Ditto to Drac's comments...

So... what's the worst that'll happen? You keep a cop busy instead of writing someone a ticket!
Exactly, Bro. And about that seatbelt ticket from a few weeks ago. Surely there was some call he could have been on. Kacey, if only you'd called then. :ultracool
 

stabpunch

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Camera phones.

Rather than give the police a fair to good description give them a photo?

'No sir i dislike GE. may i just take a photo of you for my records?'

Application may be tricky with closed door or freak them to present a gun but nothing is perfect.
 
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Kacey

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Okay, how weird is this... a different guy in a nearly-identical blue shirt - but claiming to be from Honeywell - with the exact same pitch, and the same unwillingness to accept no for an answer. After the 3rd time I said no I slammed the door in his face (having never opened the screen) and then called the police non-emergency line.
 

Carol

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Sounds like a rather well-organized scam. Stay safe, Kacey.
 
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Kacey

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Sounds like a rather well-organized scam. Stay safe, Kacey.

Thanks... the police officer I spoke to on the non-emergency line (didn't really seem like a 911 call) said she would send an officer out - hopefully, the officer will catch this one.
 

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At my last neighborhood watch meeting the LAPD were talking about "Distraction Scams" of trying to get the home owner out of the house or keep them busy talking so that his buddy can come in from behind.

Good thing you and your neighbor knows what's going on and are watching each other.
 

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People are way too hesitant to call the police right away. I'm glad you finally did the first time and much sooner the second.

Rant Mode: ON

After working security for a while, I finally learned to just not screw around with screwy people. They don't belong there and you can't reason with them. "You either leave now or I call the police." One peep and I'm headed for the phone.

Someone ends up robbed or dead and the neighbors all say, "I just don't understand why someone would do something like this."

Because there are filthy, scamming, wretched, murderous people in this world.

Why is that so hard to understand?

Rant Mode: OFF

Hope all is well.
 
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Kacey

Kacey

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After I called the police, I also called Honeywell - the woman I spoke to said that there is no reason why Honeywell would send people out asking random people to put signs in their yards - the only time they put signs up is if you purchase something from them, usually a home security system.
 

jks9199

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People are way too hesitant to call the police right away. I'm glad you finally did the first time and much sooner the second.

Rant Mode: ON

After working security for a while, I finally learned to just not screw around with screwy people. They don't belong there and you can't reason with them. "You either leave now or I call the police." One peep and I'm headed for the phone.

Someone ends up robbed or dead and the neighbors all say, "I just don't understand why someone would do something like this."

Because there are filthy, scamming, wretched, murderous people in this world.

Why is that so hard to understand?

Rant Mode: OFF

Hope all is well.
If something ain't right -- call the cops!

If someone ain't right -- call the cops!

I hate takiing "suspicious person/event" calls a few hours after something happened that would have stopped it from happening in the first place if only they'd called it in to begin with. And I've taken way too many of them!
 

tellner

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JKS has it absolutely correct. Even if the police can't do anything at the time they need the reports. The raw intelligence can be turned into patterns with something as simple as push-pins and a map. It will give them an idea of what areas need extra patrols, what sort of scams are happening in what places and what areas are likely to get hit next. Names, addresses and any descriptions you can give, even sketchy ones, are important. You never know what little detail will fit in with some other open case or someone who is already of interest.

There was a case here not to long ago where a serial rapist (almost a redundant term) was caught because several victims noticed something odd about the way he laced his shoes.
 

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