NEWARK — Within three hours of applying for a peddling permit, police officers were tracking some solicitors down and asking them to leave the village, thanks to an amended law that gives them more teeth on who can knock on doors in the village.
In April, the Village Board approved an amendment to require background checks on those applying for peddler permits and prohibiting those who had a felony within the past five years. The measure came after Newark Police Chief Dave Christler told board members at the meeting that the peddlers going door-to-door at night were making residents nervous. The amended law also prohibits peddling after dark, Christler said.
“We should know who’s out there knocking on our doors,” he added.
The law has already paid off.
Just recently, background checks done on five peddlers who had applied for permits in the village offices showed extensive criminal records on four of the solicitors, Christler said. One of the peddlers had a felony within the past five years, he added, which was cause to revoke the permit for all the solicitors in the group. Christler said when a company sends peddlers to Newark, the permit issued is actually given to the company, so when one solicitor’s background check raises red flags, all those applying for a permit through the company are prohibited.
With news of the permit suspension, police began an active search for the peddling group, locating their vehicle. However, a call to police by a resident uncovered a sixth solicitor who had failed to apply for a permit. This peddler had a serious verbal altercation with a homeowner, who then called the police, Christler said. A background check by police on the peddler revealed criminal convictions, as well.
All six solicitors were asked to leave the village, which they did, Christler said. The company they worked for was kept up-to-date on the matter and was cooperative, Christler added. Company officials told police they will not be soliciting in Newark again.