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Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2004

KU prof knocks magazine solicitor

Suspect’s bogus class claim raises suspicions

October 2, 2004

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A door-to-door solicitor who claimed to be selling magazines as an assignment for a Kansas University communications class picked the wrong door Thursday night.

"I happen to work at the university, so I asked him who the professor was and what course it was for," said Stan Loeb, an assistant professor of environmental studies. "He gave me a name and number, and I said, 'Why don't you come back tomorrow?'"

Loeb went back into his home on Boulder Court near Sixth Street and Kasold Drive, checked KU's schedule and found no such course or professor. Then, he called police.

"He was saying it was a challenge to see who could get the most points. Professors at the university don't do that. We don't sic our students on the public," Loeb said. "I didn't want the public to get the impression that's what we do."

Police responded to the area and arrested the solicitor, a 20-year-old from Elkhart, Ind., for soliciting without the required city license. The license, which all door-to-door vendors are required to carry, is a safeguard intended to help the city track who's selling what and to prevent people from being scammed.

Sgt. Dan Ward, a Lawrence Police spokesman, said it was too early to say whether the actual magazine sales were legitimate.

"He may actually be soliciting for something that's real, and he's got a line that he's made up to try to sell better. Or it could be the entire thing is a scam," Ward said. "In this case, I just don't know."

The suspect made bond and was ordered to appear in court Oct. 20.

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