05/23/08 — School officials cautions residents about solicitors

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School officials cautions residents about solicitors

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 23, 2008 2:09 PM

County school officials and the Sheriff's Office are investigating reports that someone is going door to door claiming to represent the school system.

It is unclear how far-reaching the situation is, or the specifics of what one or more individuals may be seeking, said Ken Derksen, public information officer for Wayne County Public Schools, though they seem to be affiliated with a book publishing company.

But so far, it seems to be isolated to the Eastern Wayne district, he said, naming Parkstown and Beston Road areas specifically. Several parents have contacted the schools this week, Derksen said.

"Right now we have only heard from parents in (Eastern Wayne) elementary school but in case this is outside of the Eastern Wayne district, we want the public to be aware," he said. "They're making it sound like they're representing the schools and they're not."

Derksen said it does not appear that money was being solicited and advised residents not to give out any personal information and not to allow individuals into the home.

He said that parents in the Eastern Wayne area have been alerted and officials determined it would be wise to broadcast the concern in case it spreads to other parts of the county.

Derksen also noted that they had a description of a vehicle believed to be connected to the incidents -- a silver Volkswagon Jetta.

Sheriff Carey Winders cautioned residents to be careful any time someone calls or comes to the door posing as a school representative, or soliciting for organizations not typically known to do that.

"Usually they don't send anyone around to collect money," he said. "This is probably not the first time something like this has happened and it probably won't be the last."

Sometimes, he noted, the person is not after something in the short run, but is at a residence to "scope things out to see what's there."

"If somebody goes to the house and tries to solicit or whatever," he advised, "make sure they call 911. Obtain as much information as you can about what kind of car, or a description of the tag. If you can get a license number, that's also good."