In the past week, RCPD officers have arrested two men for soliciting door-to door without a Manhattan city permit and both indicated that they were a part of a larger group of salespeople selling magazines throughout the city.
The arrests called attention to a little known but long-standing municipal ordinance requiring solicitors to have obtained a license before going door-to-door.
Lt. Josh Kyle said that on March 16, a citizen called the RCPD complaining of a door-to-door salesman attempting to sell magazines in the 600 block of Bertrand Street. Kyle said officers were able to locate the man, Jason Adams, 24, Titusville, Fla., who said that he was selling magazines for a company called Back a Winner, based out of Denver, Colo.
Adams told officers that there were 12 others throughout the city selling for the same company. The officers arrested him for soliciting without a permit.
In the second incident, Kyle said a citizen complained of a suspicious door-to-door salesman around the 200 block of Juliette Ave., a little before noon on Monday.
Kyle said that based upon the citizen’s description, officers detained Adam Zuleger, 26, Valparaiso, Ind., who claimed to be selling magazines for a Pilot Point, Texas company called CRS, Inc. Zuleger indicated to officers that he was one of a team of 10 people.
Officers also arrested Zuleger for soliciting without a permit. Both men have since been released on $128 bond.
Kyle said that because the men did not have local addresses, officers detained them instead of citing them to ensure that they would show up for court.
He said that there is no way of knowing whether the solicitors are purely scammers or are simply unlicensed salespeople of a legitimate service. But he said that the activity is questionable in itself because they are soliciting without a city of Manhattan permit.
A web search of both companies results in consumer forums that question the legitimacy of the solicitors.
Kyle said that in cases like these, the salespeople are generally from out of state and claim to be working for someone else, who they’ll say has possession of their permit.
He said the transient salespeople typically will be put up in hotels and their bosses will transport them around town to make sales before they move on to another city.
He said those who come in contact with suspicious door-to-door salespeople should contact the RCPD. They can also ask to see the salesperson’s city of Manhattan permit, which they are required to carry while soliciting.