Book salesmen going door to door in Kosciusko County asking about children are raising some concerns, but police say no criminal activity of any kind has been reported in association with them.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Chad Hill said county residents have contacted police over the last two weeks to inquire especially about one specific individual in a dark red or maroon colored Ford Mustang. “There have been reports of this person, with an unidentifiable accent, looking predominately to sell children’s books or educational materials,” he said.
The suspect’s vehicle, always reportedly the same maroon Mustang, also has an out-of-state license plate.
Hill said no incident reports have been filed, but officers did locate the vehicle and the driver after receiving calls from residents. “He does have all the necessary permits for the city, but in the county he doesn’t need (permits),” Hill explained. “The information we have is that it is more prevalent in the afternoon or evenings.”
Conversations on Facebook have had local citizens questioning the validity of the salesman’s purpose while others say the materials he is trying to sell are quite expensive. One online blog even posted information about similar salespersons in other states, but that also failed to identify any criminal acts associated with them.
Tim Ellis of Warsaw said he recently came upon the “old maroon colored Mustang with Wisconsin plates” at 400 South and County Farm Road, Warsaw. “I stopped and asked him if he was lost. He said ‘no,’ and I noticed he was hand drawing a little map of the area. I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘Oh, I’m selling books.’ He had a slight accent, too. I said, ‘Well listen nobody wants guys like you around here so you best be on your way’.”
In the same Facebook conversation, Karla Shepherd of Leesburg added, “We had a young guy in an old dark red Mustang stop at our house twice. He knocked on the door and windows for a quite a while! I didn’t answer, then he went down to our neighbor’s house and said he was in college selling books for kids.”
While it stands to reason that the salesmen would look for homes where children live and ask the residents the ages of the children for the purpose of selling the material, Sgt. Hill said, “In this day and age, always be alert … but if you’re not interested, close the door.”