Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the May edition of THE PENS DISPATCH. This bulletin is brought to you from the Cobb County Police, Precinct 4 Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU4) and is designed to keep you aware of safety alerts and crime trends in your area and measures you can take to keep you and your family safe.
Because of your support and encouragement, our Nextdoor.com membership continues to grow. In the past 30 days, Precinct IV has added almost 750 membership households. Congratulations to 412 beat who lead all county police beats by adding 186 households. 413 beat was close behind with 159 households added. Both of these beat areas added more members to Nextdoor.com than two of our police precincts! We appreciate your support and involvement in our East Cobb community.
PUBLIC SAFETY TOPIC OF THE MONTH
We have received a report of three black males soliciting door to door as landscapers. The men lay pine straw, then attempt to charge the homeowner an exorbitant rate stating they put down five times more pine straw than is realistic. In this case, the homeowner, recognizing the scam, called police who responded to the dispute.
As the weather warms up, we experience an increase in overall outdoor activity, this includes door-to-door sales. Below, I have provided information on the Cobb County ordinances dealing with door-to-door solicitors.
• Door-To-Door Solicitations
The county permits door-to-door solicitations only if the person has registered with the county’s business license office. A registration badge must be worn by solicitors and will in-clude their name, address, organization and a photograph. Solicitation without a registration badge is prohibited. Police will respond to reports of unregistered solicitors. Excluded from this are persons who solicit orders for goods, wares or merchandise, or other things of value from house to house for charitable organizations or purposes or on behalf of religious organi-zations, political organizations and political candidates.
Below, I have included the ordinances most often dealing with door-to-door sales. You may view the county ordinances in their entirety at:
• Sec. 78-81. - Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this division, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Charitable organization. Any benevolent, philanthropic, patriotic, or eleemosynary (of, relating to, or supported by charity or alms) corporation, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint-stock com-pany, trust, unincorporated organization or individual who solicits or obtains contributions solicited from the general public, any part of which contributions is used for charitable purposes.
Charitable purpose. Any charitable, benevolent, philanthropic, patriotic, or eleemosynary purpose for re-ligion, health, education, social welfare, arts and humanities, environment, civic or public interest.
Door-to-door salesperson. Any person who shall solicit orders on behalf of a firm, corporation, company, association, partnership or individual of any goods, wares or merchandise, or other things of value from house to house shall be deemed a door-to-door salesperson. Any person who obtains orders for merchandise or other things of value shall be deemed a door-to-door salesperson. Excluded from this definition are persons who so-licit orders for goods, wares or merchandise, or other things of value from house to house for charitable organi-zations or purposes or on behalf of religious organizations, political organizations and political candidates.
• Sec. 78-85. - Door-to-door salespersons—Conduct generally; rights of occupants.
(a) The supervisor of the license office shall provide to each door-to-door salesperson an in-formation card, and the door-to-door salesperson shall present this card to each household he visits. It is the responsibility of the door-to-door salesperson to make sufficient copies of the information card to furnish to each household he visits. Such card shall contain infor-mation as required by the business license supervisor.
(b) The door-to-door salesperson is not to enter a home except at the express invitation of the occupant.
(c) The occupant has the right to refuse entry or to ask the door-to-door salesperson to leave the premises, and, if the salesperson should fail to leave the premises after such instruc-tions, he shall be in violation of the laws of this state and ordinances of the county.
(d) Any discourteous conduct should be reported to the business license office of the county.
(e) If a person purchases the product of the door-to-door salesperson, the person has the right to cancel a home solicitation service agreement any time until midnight on the business day after the day on which he signs the agreement, provided he gives notice of the cancellation to the seller at the place of business as set forth in the agreement or by certified mail, return receipt requested, which shall be posted not later than midnight on the day following execution of the agreement.
(f) A door-to-door salesperson shall place his name and permit number in the blank provided on the card and shall present it to the occupant of each home that he visits.
• Sec. 78-86. - Same—Failure to present information card to occupant.
It shall be unlawful for a door-to-door salesperson to fail to present the card described in section 78-85 to the resident or occupant of a home at which the door-to-door salesperson solicits business.
• Sec. 78-87. - Same—Announcement to occupant.
At each house, the door-to-door salesperson shall announce to the owner or occupant of the home his name and that he has been issued a permit by or has registered with the county license bureau as a home door-to-door salesperson, and shall announce the purpose of his call and present the card provided for by this division and shall allow time for the occupant or owner to read the card.
• Sec. 78-88. - Same—Invitation required to enter home; compliance with sign.
No door-to-door salesperson shall enter a home without the express invitation of the occupant or owner. If a "no soliciting" sign is posted, no soliciting shall be made.
• Sec. 78-89. - Same—Courtesy; leaving premises upon instruction.
A door-to-door salesperson shall at all times maintain a courteous decorum and shall not use opprobrious words to any homeowner or occupant. No door-to-door salesperson shall remain upon the premises of an occu-pant or owner after such occupant or owner has requested the door-to-door salesperson to leave or indicated that he is not interested in purchasing the door-to-door salesperson's product.
• Sec. 78-115. - Solicitation permit.
All door-to-door salespersons, both nonresident and resident, who shall solicit orders from house to house shall first obtain from the supervisor of the license office a permit for such solicitation.
• Sec. 78-116. - Badge.
All door-to-door salespersons shall wear a badge, the design of which shall be in the discretion of the li-cense office, but which shall be uniform as to all door-to-door salespersons, which badge shall provide the fol-lowing information: the name of the door-to-door salesperson, the name of the company, and an identification number, in large enough type to be read and seen by persons with normal vision at a distance of ten feet. At all times, the door-to-door salesperson shall wear on either the left or right shoulder of his garment the badge pre-scribed by the license office so that such badge can be readily seen by the owner or occupant of the premises.
During the month of April, 30 entering autos were reported in Precinct 4, and almost every incident of entering auto was perpetrated against an unlocked vehicle. 18 of those entering autos occurred within a span of seven days. The neighborhoods of Bentley Ridge, Wellcrest, Vermilion and Greyson Knoll were victimized by suspect(s) “flipping handles”. These offenders will walk the neighborhood streets at night checking door handles. If they find an unlocked car, it becomes a crime of opportunity and they will search your car for anything they choose to take. We have also seen numerous incidents of homeowners parking their unlocked cars in the garage and leaving the garage door open. Again, these cars are easily victimized. The crime of entering auto leaves very little investigative value for our detectives to pursue. Please remember to always lock your doors at night, including your vehicles. Also, be sure to close your garage doors before going to bed. Your garage may provide an easier entry into your house.
With the beautiful weather, garage/yard sale season is upon us. We have received one notification from a citizen of a scam perpetrated against him by some visitors to his garage sale. One member of the suspect party will engage in conversation and distract the homeowners while the other co-perpetrator(s) will steal items. As always, be ever vigilant and aware of your surroundings and visitors. This is especially true for garage sales as they are most often taking place at your home.
As Benjamin Franklin (and my grandmother) used to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you take the necessary precautions beforehand, you are much less likely to become a victim of the criminal element.
WHAT YOU, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD CAN DO
• Lock your doors and remove your valuables from your vehicles.
• Keep your residences locked and use your alarm whenever you leave.
• Landscaping contractors, secure your equipment, especially back pack blowers, when not in use. They are usually stolen as a crime of opportunity.
• Call 911 when something or someone looks suspicious.
Continue to share any crimes and suspicious activity with your neighbors to keep everyone aware and watchful. Please remember, “If you see something, say something.”
FEATURED ARRESTS (The below named offenders are innocent until proven guilty)
Theft by Shoplifting
Detective M.C. Gasque
On February 26, 2015, Vincent Gartin stole a Yamaha Saxophone worth thousands of dollars from Music and Arts in Marietta. Gartin was able to leave the store with the instrument be-cause the store clerk was distracted by his accomplice, Elizabeth Emiohe. Emiohe then acted as the get-away driver as the two suspects fled from the scene. Emiohe later sold the stolen saxophone to a pawn shop in the City of Atlanta. The saxophone was recovered from the pawn shop and returned to Music and Arts. Vincent Gartin and Elizabeth Emiohe were each subsequently charged with Theft by Shoplifting (F.)
In March and April 2015, grocery and convenience stores in the Metro Atlanta area were tar-geted by a male and female who were engaged in a shoplifting spree in which they repeatedly stole large amounts of liquid laundry detergent. The suspects’ M.O. was to enter a store, push a shopping cart to the back of the store, go down the laundry detergent aisle, load as many large liquid laundry detergent containers as they could into the cart, and push the cart full of laundry detergent back out of the front of the store without paying and without hesitation.
Uniform Sgt. K.S. Gardner identified two laundry detergent shoplifting suspects after a large amount of detergent was shoplifted from a Vinings Publix. These suspects were 21-year-old Samer Tabaja and 22-year-old Savannah Sargent, both of Cobb County.
Around the same time as the detergent thefts began, ads on Craigslist popped up offering sales of laundry detergent. A search warrant was conducted of Ms. Sargent’s phone and damning evidence was discovered.
Video surveillance footage was obtained from Publix Loss Prevention which helped to posi-tively identify Samer Tabaja as the perpetrator of bulk laundry detergent shoplifting incidents at three different East Cobb Publix Super Markets from March to April 2015. During these three shoplifting incidents, a total of 61 large containers of laundry detergent worth over $1,100.00 were stolen.
CIU-5 detectives have also secured Theft by Shoplifting warrants for Mr. Tabaja and/or Ms. Sargent for numerous incidents at West Cobb Publix and Kroger Stores. One or both of the suspects face additional Theft by Shoplifting charges out of the cities of Smyrna and Sandy Springs. The Atlanta Police Department also has a case on Mr. Tabaja and/or Ms. Sargent from the Howell Mill Publix.
Detective R.B. Billington
In August 2014, the victim’s apartment was burglarized. Carlos Cruz broke a window to gain entry and in the process of breaking the window he cut his hand or arm leaving blood evi-dence. The blood evidence was sent off to the GBI lab for analysis. The DNA data from the blood evidence was matched to Carlos Cruz. The victim did not know Carlos Cruz. A warrant was obtained for Carlos Cruz for Burglary.