Archive for Thursday, March 28, 2013

City ordinance lands unlicensed solicitors in jail

March 28, 2013


A city ordinance requiring a license for door-to-door sales does not usually result in arrests, but it did Wednesday for six out-of-town salespeople.

Lawrence police arrested the solicitors, who all sell books, magazines, and coffee door-to-door for the same Champaign, Ill., company, in two separate incidents Wednesday evening in the 1700 block of Lake Alvamar Drive about 6:30 p.m. and outside Hy-Vee, 4000 W. 6th Street about 11:30 p.m.

The six were arrested after residents and Hy-Vee employees complained about their activities. The solicitors told police and their employers that they were unaware there was a city ordinance governing their sales.

In fact, selling door-to-door without a license in Lawrence is a municipal offense punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000. Local offenders are normally given a summons to appear in court later, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman, but those from out of town may be arrested to ensure that they don't simply leave town and ignore the citation.

When a salesperson knocks on your door, you should be able to see clearly if they are licensed, said Jonathan Douglass, the city clerk.

Solicitors are required to show proof of their license while doing business, Douglass said. A licensed solicitor should have an ID card with their picture, license number, and company name provided by the city.

To apply for a license, a solicitor must pay $250, pass a police department background check, and show a valid Kansas sales tax ID number, vehicle information, and a government-issued photo ID. The licenses are good through the end of the year, and applicants can be disqualified if their license has been revoked in the past two years or if they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest.

In residential areas, solicitors can only operate between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. and cannot sell to any residence or business that displays a “no solicitors” or “no trespassers” sign.

Employees at the Hy-Vee said they asked four of the solicitors to leave the store's property Wednesday and called police when the salespeople were not cooperative. Two other salespeople were arrested on Alvamar Drive after residents complained to police.

All six were booked into jail on suspicion of soliciting without a license and criminal trespass. Staff at the Illinois sales company Certified Management Inc., said the employees worked in many communities around the country and violated Lawrence's ordinance by mistake because they were unaware of it.

The arrested sales people were all booked into Douglas County Jail and released on bond. They included:

• Sukari Shawnay Obiogun, 28, of Oakland, Calif. Obiogun was also booked on suspicion of obstruction.

• Tashzeri Lacole Cleveland, 21, of Mablevale, Ark.

• Mario Terrelle Massenburg, 22, of Chicago. Massenburg was also booked on suspicion of possession of marijuana.

• Tashara Ciera Dowds, 27, of Greensboro, N.C.

• Antonio Cartiez Jones, 36, of San Rafael, Calif.

• Price Williams, 47, of Detroit


Bob Forer 4 years, 9 months ago

They need to go after the businesses and mangers who send these crews out.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

I finally put a sign on my front door saying "No solicitors or bible thumpers." Haven't had a visit from either since.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

I printed it on overhead projector film and taped it to the glass.

bad_dog 4 years, 9 months ago

I can only imagine the horrors of discovering a plastic wrapped copy of Lawrence magazine on my doorstep...

justforfun 4 years, 9 months ago

A bit a hope, and a bag of weed! Oh Yea!

bad_dog 4 years, 9 months ago

Gee, wilbur. Does standing in the median panhandling constitute door to door sales? Somehow it appears to be missing a couple of vital components. You know, like the "door to door" and "sales" aspects. Aside from that, you're right on point.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

That is because they are not asking anyone for anything. They are not approaching anyone. They are simply standing there with a sign. There is no law against that.

rcr 4 years, 9 months ago

I believe there were five or six people arrested about a month ago for the same thing. Those arrests happened in the Bob Billings & Westbrooke Steet area. You would think they would learn.

Wayne James 4 years, 9 months ago

Probably a different company sending them out, or the same company with a different "manager" sending out new people. Question: are these subscriptions they are peddling legit or a scam?

EarthaKitt 4 years, 9 months ago

Scam. I fell for it about 10 years ago -- they did me in with a cute little college kid with a good story. I bought a subscription to a Disney magazine for my son that didn't show up. I called to complain to complain after about 6 months (I'd forgotten for a long time), and they were apologetic. In the end I think we only got a few issues and it was very sporadic. I deserved my fate for being gullible. Mea culpa.

PeriMac 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, that's a very good and cost friendly idea. It can be nerve wracking for a woman to answer their door not knowing what to expect. Please do not solicit. There will always be people that will take advantage of rules that benefit honest salespeople. Don't want to take that chance.

Wayne James 4 years, 9 months ago

My apartment over here in Branson West, Mo. has a high privacy fence 'tween buidings (duplex apt) and it extneds around the front of my apt. Generally I keep the gate locked, but recently I failed to place the screen hook in the hooked position and someone came to my door and rang the bell. I ignored her even with the inner door was open and the TV on. Later I found a phamplet left behind written in SPANISH!
I thought we, as a majority, spoke english in this country. However today you can pick up any product off the grocery shelves or go to the clothing stores and EVERY tag is printed in Spanish first and ENGLISH second. Why do we cater so much to the spanish speaking people? Are we & our government so afraid they can't keep out the illegal aliens from Mexico that we must cater to them in all our merchandise and stores? If they want to come to this country & work, that's fine. but become citizens of this GREAT COUNTRY and help to make it stronger by learning and speaking ENGLISH and then I expect they will be treated differenly. English is an accepted nearly everywhere in the world except Mexico. Why?

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

"...and EVERY tag is printed in Spanish first and ENGLISH second." Baloney. And English is still spoken by a majority in the U.S.

By the way, caucasions will no longer be the majority in the U.S. within the next thirty years. You'll do much better if you learn to adapt to that.

skull 4 years, 9 months ago

The government doesn't cater to anyone in a store...that would be the free market working its magic. Guess what: people who speak spanish are consumers too!

EarthaKitt 4 years, 9 months ago

You've got to be kidding. It's 2013 and demographics in this country are changing in the most wonderful way. Our melting pot is getting meltier all the time, and helping someone navigate your GREAT COUNTRY will only make it better.

PhilChiles 4 years, 9 months ago

Ha ha Republicans, this guy's on your side.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

English is not accepted everywhere in the world. Every country has its own language that the majority of people speak.

I have never treated anyone differently because of where they are from and I would hope that the international students at KU receive the courtesy and dignity that they deserve.

Honest and open discourse between peoples wherever they are from is the only way that we will learn to get along and stop some of the fighting.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 4 years, 9 months ago

Learning a new language doesn't make your skin turn colors.

mthand 4 years, 9 months ago

Your mind is what gets Kansas in national headlines for ridiculous, backwards views of the world - if you're gonna cling to that Bible then love thy neighbor

Elizabeth Halsey 4 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know about a group of softball girls selling magazine subscriptions at the 6th and Wak area about two weeks ago? Girl came to my door seeming extremely rehearsed. Story didn't make a lot of sense - softball team wanted to go to Hawaii for tournament, but selling magazine subscriptions to provide for military gift baskets. Huh? Later saw police with beat up limo on my street. Wondered if it was the same people. I'd like a cute no soliciting sign that provides exceptions for LOCAL kids. I'll buy your Girl Scout cookies, your Boy Scout popcorn or your football card. Local kids - local benefit. I have three kids too and I get it. But I'm not interested in the random boxes of crap and out-of-towners that tend to be questionable.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 9 months ago

reminds me of John Stossel clip once where he went around the country and interviewed all kids/Girl Scout types that had been issued tickets/arrested for selling cookies/lemonade stands, etc...In one example he found, two cops had stopped and purchased lemonade from a lemonade stand. The next day, they came back with orders to issue a ticket for operating without a business permit. If you search "Stossel lemonade stand" on Youtube, I believe you can find it.

pace 4 years, 9 months ago

About time, Every time I called the police they gave me trouble and did nothing but encourage the door to doors.I am thrilled they seem to have changed their policy and enforce law. The law is a good one, it especially protects the vulnerable.

Glo 4 years, 9 months ago

I love this sign I saw on Pinterest. No Soliciting! We are too broke to buy anything. We know who we are voting for, We have found Jesus. Seriously! Unless you are selling Thin Mints, Please go away!!

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd post that one except I'd change "Thin Mints" to "Lemonades."

Rae Hudspeth 4 years, 9 months ago

The ugly truth behind magazine sales solicitations, the story is old but it's still going on. These "hopeful" kids are often abused:

“The stories about life on crew you hear from these kids are almost unbelievable,” said Officer George Dahl of the Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Department, who estimated that his department had cited or arrested more than 70 sellers for assault, unlawful solicitation or drug possession in the last two years. “But you get them alone and start hearing the same sort of thing over and over from different crews and you start believing them.”

lhs96299 4 years, 9 months ago

It's the great tea party republican free market at it's finest.

LadyJ 4 years, 9 months ago

pace 23 hours, 2 minutes ago

About time, Every time I called the police they gave me trouble and did nothing but encourage the door to doors.I am thrilled they seem to have changed their policy and enforce law. The law is a good one, it especially protects the vulnerable.

Could the reason be the location, Lake Alvamar Drive? One of the more exclusive parts of town.

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