A regular concern at our community meetings is door-to-door solicitors. Our community police officer for Baltimore County informed us that such soliciting is only legal between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or sunset (whichever is earlier) and is never permitted when a “no soliciting” sign is clearly posted on the individual property.
All county residents are encouraged to call 911 to report violations of this rule or any solicitor who is aggressive or suspicious. Often burglars masquerade as door to door salesmen in order to case the property or perform a deception burglary by distracting the homeowner.
The text of the county code is as follows:
§ 21-11-106. PROHIBITED ACTS
(c) “No soliciting ” signs; sunset.
(1) A person subject to this title may not offer any service or item of merchandise for sale to the occupant of a residential property in the county if the owner or occupant has visibly displayed on the property a “no soliciting ” sign, or a sign containing similar words.
(2) The prohibition of paragraph (1) applies to all residences in a neighborhood or community if the neighborhood or community has displayed a “no soliciting ” sign, or a sign containing similar words, at each vehicle entrance to the neighborhood or community.
(3) A person subject to this title may not offer any service or item of merchandise for sale to the occupant of a residential property in the county before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m., or sunset on any day, whichever is earlier. “Sunset” means the time of day identified by the National Weather Service as the time for sunset on that day in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
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The following is from Officer Bryan Dietsch of the Baltimore County Police Department:
Deception Burglary is a type of crime that involves individuals who attempt to enter homes through deception or diversion. This is a scenario that we see played out more and more frequently. Seniors are sometimes targeted, but all citizens need to be aware of this crime and how it is perpetrated.
Here are some examples of how this type of crime is executed:
The suspect knocks on your door or approaches you while you are outside working on your yard, washing your automobile, etc. He or she claims to need your help or offers to do construction or maintenance type work outside your home. This offer requires you to accompany the suspect to look at your roof, fence, check property lines, etc. While the first suspect is diverting your attention outside, a second suspect enters your home and steals money, jewelry, and other valuables before you return. It may be days before you realize you have been victimized.
Another scenario involves the suspect(s) inquiring about the purchase of an item that you have displayed outside for sale, (e.g., car, boat, camper trailer, etc.). The first suspect will distract the homeowner while a second suspect enters the home and steals your valuables. The suspect sometimes agrees to purchase the item to get you more interested (or in this scenario more distracted) and agrees to return with the money. For obvious reasons they never return.
A similar scenario can also take place inside your home. The suspect will come to your door claiming to be a representative of a utility, cable, telephone company, etc. They will ask you to let them in to test the service. While you are assisting the first suspect who you believe to be a legitimate representative, the second suspect enters the home and steals your valuables.
In all three of these scenarios the suspect diverting your attention will usually stay in contact with the second suspect by cell phone or two-way radio. This way the suspects can alert each other of potential problems that would jeopardize the success of the crime.
Report any suspicious individuals or activity by immediately calling 911. If you can take note of license tag numbers, vehicle descriptions, or suspect descriptions without putting yourself at risk, it can be helpful to responding officers.
M.O.: Suspects posed as employees of the County, Water Department or BGE. The suspects would claim they need to check water/water pipes or do an inspection the basement/bathroom/property. The suspects would approach the victims and ask where the property line is to dig a ditch/do tree/fence work in the rear of the property. In two cases, suspects came to do driveway work and came back later asking for money or work. In some cases, the suspects wore bright yellow traffic vests and showed ID badges. In most cases, one of the suspects would distract the victim while the other suspect gains access to the home. Jewelry, money, safes containing personal identity items or money and silverware were taken from these homes.
If you have been victimized by this type of scam or have any questions or concerns about this document contact the Baltimore County Police Department’s Community Resources Team, Detective Carl Lindhorst & Officer Bryan Dietsch@ 410-887-5901.