Over the winter, Ruby, our littlest beagle, started barking in the living room. It was about 8pm on a Saturday night, and I was in the kitchen organizing a neglected cabinet. I walked out to the front room to see what she was concerned about, went up to the front door, and flipped the blinds.
I jumped back. A white guy, brownish short hair, brown eyes, in about his 20s, in a very oversized 'leather' (looked like cheap vinyl) coat was standing there. He locked eyes with me, paused in what I imagine was surprise, then hunched over in a weird sort of fake laughter. He had a notepad or something in his hand and a pen. It was cold outside.
"Hahahaha" he said. "I bet you are freaked out" He grabbed his giant coat with one of his hands and said "Me here in this big coat, just standing here.....hahaha." I saw his oversized white t-shirt, boots, and baggy jeans.
"Yep" I said through the window of our front door. "Can I help you?"
He looked at me, and said he was selling subscriptions to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and that if he sold a certain amount, he would get scholarship money to Northern Kentucky University. He said he could take cash or credit cards and I could sign up, cancel at any time, no obligation. He just needed my information now. Could he step inside for a moment, too? It's cold out.
"No thanks," I said. He kind of stepped back, and walked down the street to my neighbors. I know I surprised him when I opened the blinds.
I immediately felt weird. I called the police non-emergency number, and dispatch told me to immediately lock all doors and windows, turn on the security alarm, and wait until an officer got there. I told the woman on the phone that everything was all set, and she asked if anyone else was home with me. I said no. She told me to not open the door for any reason and they were sending an officer over, and that I should absolutely have called. About 10 minutes later, an officer was at my door. They found the guy walking down the street, and he produced, what the officer said, was an obviously bogus form of identification, and a bogus 'permit' to solicit. The officer said it had been photocopied and altered, but wasn't enough for them to do anything on. He asked if I had a security system, (yes), and asked me to double-check all the locks on the doors and windows because the man may have been casing houses. I thanked the officer, and he left.
I followed up with a couple of my neighbors who were also visited by this fellow that same night. One of them told me I needed to 'calm down' and that 'you don't need to always be calling the cops.' One of them signed up for a subscription. I seriously questioned myself on this. I had such a distinct bad feeling....where did it come from?
The next day I called Northern Kentucky University and got in touch with a very nice lady there. They have no program like this at all at NKU, and she said 'we would never send students out in the dark, on weekends, or at night". I also got in touch with the Cincinnati Enquirer and talked to the gal that runs their marketing. She had no idea about the 'program' the guy was selling, and that they don't do anything like that, and she felt it most certainly was a scam.
I just assumed the guy was casing our houses. Because why else would you be standing outside my house on a Saturday night at 8pm with a notepad and pencil?
Last week, a notice popped up on my phone that the River City News, our local news source, had posted a new story.
There was the guy staring back at me from my phone screen, the guy that I last saw staring back at me through the glass panel in my front door.
I've been thinking about this incident here for a week or so, and it always feels good to have something like this confirmed, especially when those around you tell you that you are wrong. But what bothers me, I think, is that other people are perhaps so out of touch with their own intuition, or just not tuned into the reality of things to become concerned about a legitimate situation.
If a sketchy guy comes to your door at 8pm on a Saturday night selling subscriptions....or anything....just NOPE.
I wanted to share this because if something like this happens to you, please call the police. Call their non-emergency line and tell them what happened. Better safe than sorry.
Also, thank you to the River City News for the closure on this!