A door-to-door saleswoman’s tactics are making parents uneasy across the Charleston area, but police say the woman appears to pose no threat.
Facebook postings about the children’s bookseller have gone viral on the Internet in recent days, prompting numerous calls to police and warnings from neighborhood associations.
Sightings of the 25-year-old woman, who appears to be from Eastern Europe, have been reported from West Ashley to Moncks Corner, and all points in between.
What is making people uneasy is that she is said to be rather aggressive about trying to talk her way inside homes and has approached some residents already knowing the names of their kids, according to Facebook posts and emails from readers.
An email circulating in Charleston’s Whitney Lake subdivision indicated the woman was seen carrying a notebook with drawings of homes in the area and other places she had visited, along with the names of the children who live there. A visit to North Charleston’s Wescott Plantation prompted similar warnings.
Police in Charleston and North Charleston said they spoke to the woman in response to complaints and she has the proper licenses and permits to ply her trade. She doesn’t have any active warrants and would have had to pass a criminal background check to receive a business license, they said.
North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said an officer who spoke with the woman noted she was also wearing an official company identification card with her picture and name on it.
“No law has been violated,” Pryor said.
Charleston police Sgt. Trevor Shelor, a crime prevention officer, said the woman’s sales pitch might be off-putting to some, but officers found no evidence that she had committed any violations.
“But my advice to everyone is to be skeptical of door-to-door salesmen of any kind,” he said.
Sometimes, salesmen will keep track of homes in neighborhoods and who lives there to help with potential future sales. Some companies will pass the information on to new sales people working that route, police said.
But some crooks also use such tactics to canvass neighborhoods for future burglaries and other crimes, Shelor said.
People looking to avoid door-to-door sales people should post “No soliciting” signs on their homes or property, Shelor said. Simply having such a sign at the entrance to a neighborhood is often not enforceable unless it is a gated community, he said.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.