Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 02, 2008

050208 Citizen Arrest for Illegal Soliciting

050208 Citizen Arrest for Illegal Soliciting

    Boise, May 2, 2008 - An informed citizen made a citizens arrest Thursday after an unlicensed solicitor came to his West Boise home. The arrest follows several alerts made public by Boise Police and Boise City Prosecutors that unlicensed solicitors were again targeting Boise and neighboring communities.

    "It's good to see citizens listening to our alerts, recognizing the dangers, and calling police as soon as they see this activity in their neighborhoods," said Boise Police Lt. Alan Cavener. "These unlicensed solicitors are not only illegal, they're aggressive and threatening with residents. They've also been associated with other crime like robbery and burglary."

    Suspect: Joshua D. Mott, 19, Fort Levenworth, Kansas

    Charge: Illegal Soliciting (M), Boise City Code 5-22-02

    What Happened: Just before 4:00 p.m. Thursday, Boise Police received a call from a citizen on the 2300 blk of Welford Pl, near Maple Grove & Ustick, that an unlicensed solicitor was at his door.

    The citizen, a man in his 20's, told officers when the suspect knocked on his door, the citizen asked if he had a Boise City Solicitor's license. According to the citizen, the suspect replied he did not. The citizen says he informed the suspect it is a misdemeanor violation of Boise City Code not to have a valid solicitor's license, however, the citizen says the suspect continued to try and sell the citizen magazines. 

    The citizen says he called police, then continued to talk to the solicitor until a Boise Police officer arrived. The citizen then placed the suspect under arrest for the above charge.

    

Citizen Alert released April 4, 2008:

    Boise, April 4, 2008 - Boise Police have, what's become a seasonal alert to citizens: unlicensed door to door solicitors are appearing once again in Boise City. Besides the illegal activity of selling or collecting money door to door, the solicitors can appear threatening to some residents, and have been known to be connected to other crime in the neighborhood.

    Where has this been reported: Residents in several areas, including the foothills, West and South Boise, and Boise Bench neighborhoods have either called police or called the city to express concern about the solicitors. 

    What are residents saying: One West Boise resident, calling from the area of Fairview & Mitchell, reports that, when asked for a Boise City solicitors license, the salesperson displayed an out of state driver's license. The citizen also reports that the solicitor was very aggressive about asking to get inside the home saying they wanted to demonstrate a cleaning product, when the resident finally closed the door on the solicitor.

    A foothills resident called to report solicitors seeking donations for the homeless without proper licenses.

    Boise Police Response: Boise Police have been called to some neighborhoods by residents concerned about unlicensed solicitors. However, when the officers arrive, the solicitors appear to have left the neighborhood. Boise Police officers may cite or arrest those found soliciting door to door without a license. Soliciting without a license is a Boise City misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $50, and a maximum penalty of a $300 fine and 30 days in jail. 

    With citizen reports varying as to the type of products or "charities" the solicitors are pitching, officers are concerned several groups may  currently be operating in and around Boise City. 

    Outside Boise City: It's also not uncommon for these groups, which often travel in vehicles with out-of-state plates, to move down the interstate, from one community to the next. So, although Boise City licensing requirements do not apply outside the city, residents of other cities should check to see what their local licensing requirements are and stay alert. Residents throughout the Treasure Valley should call their local authorities if they notice suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

    Here's what Boise Police and Boise City Prosecutors would like citizens to be aware of regarding door to door solicitations:

  • Boise City license requirements are for everyone, even charities. (Charities are just exempt from paying for the license fee).
  • A Boise City solicitors license should have the official Boise City logo along with a picture of the solicitor.
  • The solicitor is required to clearly display the official city license.
  • Citizens should ask to see the license. If the solicitor cannot display one, citizens are urged to call police.
  • Homeowners should be aware some door to do people will use a scam to get inside their homes such, as pretending to do a survey or ask questions about products in their home, and then once inside try to steal something.
  • Homeowners have the right to tell people they are not interested at any time. Homeowners can put up a no solicitation sign, or they can simply not answer the door.
  • Homeowners should not be pressured into buying something and they have every right to ask a person to leave. If a person refuses to leave, homeowners can and should call police.
  • If a person in their neighborhood is acting suspicious to please report it to police.