Police Warn Mount Airy Of Peddlers

June 09, 1991|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

MT. AIRY — MOUNT AIRY -- With the advent of summer unlicensed peddlers come to town, police say.

And residents should be on the alert.

Police have received reports of unlicensed peddlers trying to sell magazine subscriptions in this South Carroll community in recent days. Other salespeople have been reported going door to door offering to paint house-address numbers on curbs for $10 to $15.

"We alwaysget these calls about this time of year," said Cpl. Michael LeComte,a member of the State Police's Resident Trooper Program that serves the town of 3,993 residents.

"They come out in the summertime," hesaid. "They're just like roaches."

The corporal brought the incidents to the attention of officials during the police report at the Town Council's regular monthly meeting Monday.

For the most part, the actual subscriptions and paint jobs seem to be aboveboard, police say. The main impropriety is that the some of the operators have no license to work in the town.

Someone found to be selling products without a town permit faces a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second.

But police say they also are concerned in general about unlicensed salespeople working in town because such operators often tend to perpetrate scams and rip-off schemes.

"If they're not regulated, they could abuse whatever it is they're doing and they could rip people off," LeComte said.

No one has been charged, although oneperson was stopped for questioning, the corporal said. Police will remain on the lookout for the peddlers.

Residents who encounter door-to-door salespeople should ask to see a peddler's license. Salespeople operating outside the town limits must have a license issued by the county government.

If a solicitor has no license, residents should alert police.

"If they don't have it (a license), you shouldn't deal with them," LeComte advised.

Operators like the people reported around town typically come from outside the area and often are young people trying to earn money during the summer, he said. In most cases they are dropped off in a community for a few days and stay in a hotel before moving on.

Part of what drives salespeople to operate without a town peddler's license are the requirements to receive one, LeComte said.

In addition to basic biographical information, an applicant must submit to the Town Hall letters from two people who have known the applicant for at least two years and can "attest to the person's moral character."

Two other reference contacts also must be submitted, and the

applicant must be fingerprinted. The cost for the license is $1.

"None of these people probably could complywith that," the corporal said. "To get one would be pretty hard."

There are other summertime occurances that Mount Airy residents, particularly merchants, should be wary of, LeComte said.

At this timeof year, roving groups of people, typically from out of state, pass through the region.

Once in a community, members of a group enter a store, and while one or two distract the proprietor, others shoplift merchandise and sometimes cash.

"They're good at it," LeComte said. "Basically, it's what they do for a living."

Residents who seesuspicious solicitors should contact the town's resident troopers at795-0726 or the town office at 795-6012, 829-1424 or 831-5768.

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