By Mary O’Keefe
Glendale police recently arrested a man in Montrose for soliciting for charity under false pretenses.
The man had allegedly used a variety of approaches with different residents to obtain money.
Police warn that there has been a recent increase of door-to-door solicitations in the city particularly in La Crescenta/Glendale annex area. One scenario is that a solicitor may pose as a student trying to raise funds for some organization.
Another story is that they are selling magazine subscriptions that will be sent to military personnel in Iraq, said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
Legitimate solicitors operating in Glendale are required to get a permit from the city clerk’s office.
“When [organizations or individuals] apply for a permit they don’t just walk in and pay for it. The [completed] application comes to the police department. It passes over my desk,” Lorenz said.
He reviews the permit to determine if those who are applying are a possible threat to the community.
“We take solicitors very seriously in Glendale,” he added.
Officials said that those who are illegally soliciting may do so not only to collect money from residents but also to gain knowledge of a homeowner’s property like unattended vehicles or homes. Police have not had burglary issues with the most recent soliciting problem however other issues have been dealt with.
Many times solicitors will come in groups and are from out of state.
“They hit us for a day or two and then are gone,” Lorenz said.
Solicitors and advertisers that leave material at homes are required to have a city permit. Religious and non-profit organizations are allowed to distribute materials with a permit but are not allowed to seek donations or sell products.
If a solicitor contacts a resident they are advised to ask for their organization identification or a letter of introduction as well as their city permit. If they cannot provide that information, close the door.
Lorenz said any resident who is concerned about solicitors in their neighborhood can contact the Glendale Police Department at (818) 548-4840.