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Posted: December 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Citizens warned to be careful letting strangers in homes

Reports of suspicious door-to-door sales

Most families have their own holiday traditions for this time of year and it is doubtful that any of those include having their homes invaded or their belongings stolen. With an increase in crimes against property this time of year, citizens are urged to be vigilant and to watch out for scams, including a new one going on in surrounding counties.

Citizens have reported that people are coming to their homes and knocking on their doors under the pretense of selling cleaning supplies - which may or may not be true. The one thing that people are reporting is that these would-be sales persons seem very intent on getting inside their homes.

Both the Covington Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff's Department have received no specific complaints about things of this nature happening in Newton County yet. However, there have been reports of some people who are offering cookies and air fresheners if they can come in and talk to homeowner's about the products they are selling.

On one occasion, one person who was trying to sell cleaning supplies told deputies that a van had brought him and several others from DeKalb County and dropped them off in Newton County to sell some products.
In the past people have posed as utility workers in Newton County as a way to get inside residents' homes, according to 1st Lt. Mark Mitchell with the NCSO. Although he hasn't heard of anything in the county yet, Mitchell asked that residents call if they have something like this happen.

"If someone is at your door and you feel they are suspicious or you feel uneasy, please call us," he said. "I would suggest that anyone err on the side of caution and to not answer their doors if it's getting dark and they don't know the person on the other side."

Using the Internet, companies can be checked out fairly quickly, but residents are under no obligation to answer their doors to anyone at any time, and if the person persists in knocking then law enforcement will happily come and assist the person off the property.

"If someone is on your property and the conversation has turned from pleasant to confrontational or even uncomfortable, close the door and call for assistance," said CPD Lt. Wendell Wagstaff.
"People need a permit in order to sell door-to-door," he continued. "And if someone has been asked to leave your property and they won't, then we will be happy to come and assist them."

The Covington Police Department can be reached at (770) 786-7605 and the Newton County Sheriff's Department can be reached at (678) 625-1400 for non-emergencies. If anyone has information they should contact the law enforcement agency in that area.

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