Police respond to magazine salesmen complaints

Following a rash of citizen complaints last week of suspicious salesmen going door-to-door pitching magazine subscriptions, Homer Police on Nov. 12 eventually caught up with one of the men and warned him of selling without an itinerant merchant’s license. That warning apparently stopped the salesmen, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl, and the men appear to have left town.

Police logged about a dozen complaints between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12 of two men knocking on doors and making aggressive pitches for people to buy subscriptions.

“They were making people nervous,” Robl said. “They tried to get their foot into the door and seemed like they were looking around.”

Robl said police researched the organization the men claimed to be working with and found it was a scam.

Macy Lee Marquez said she encountered one man while babysitting at U.S. Coast Guard housing on Alder Court. She said the salesman claimed he was in a contest to sell more magazines than a group of women. The man also was pushy and wouldn’t take no for an answer when she told him she didn’t have her checkbook.

Robl said city law requires door-to-door salesmen to have an itinerant merchant license. That license requires a police background check. Police also investigate the products being sold to make sure that they’re legitimate. People should ask to see itinerant merchant licenses from salespeople. Charities doing fundraisers like Girl Scouts selling cookies don’t need itinerant licenses, Robl said.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.