Manila senior citizen victim of sales scam

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Patrolman Joni Isebell with the Manila Police Department confirmed a Manila resident has been the victim of a linoleum sales scam.

"We received the call on Wednesday from one of our senior citizen residents," Isebell said. "She told us that between 6 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening she heard a knock at her door. She said she looked out, saw a man at the front door and told him to wait a minute. She went into her bedroom to put on a housecoat and when she returned to the living room the man was standing just inside the door."

The man gave her a sales pitch about opening a furniture store in Manila for senior citizens because he wanted to help them. When she told him she was not interested, he went on to ask her about the flooring and said he was going to have linoleum. He then asked another man to bring a sample in to show her. The two men went to the kitchen and unrolled the linoleum. One asked for a drink of water and she got him a drink, and then he walked into the utility room where there was a bowl of oranges and asked if he could have an orange before they left.

Isebell said the woman said her purse was sitting in a chair at the kitchen table. She reported having $3,000 in hundred dollar bills and approximately $350 in twenty dollar in bills in her purse. She did not notice the money was gone until the next day when she went to the store and realized that the money was missing.

"These kinds of thieves are quick talking and can take people's valuables seemingly with the resident looking at them," Isebell said.

The first man was described as a white male, short, clean shaven, with dark short hair. He was wearing a cap, a blue button up shirt and matching pants. The second male was identified as a white male with a dark tan, approximately six feet tall with dark, short hair. He was also clean shaven.

The two left in a white extended cab long wheelbase truck.

Isebell said she had made calls to Jonesboro and Trumann to compare the reports of similar incidents in the two towns.

Isebell cautions residents to be on the guard for people coming door to door. If anyone does not leave immediately when asked, residents should call the Manila Police Department at 561-4777.

Even if a person does not get into the house and a resident is suspicious, Isebell advises to call the police.

"If it is possible, it would be very helpful to take notice of a license plate number," Isebell said. "Even if the state is not visible, the color can sometimes tell us what state it is from."

Isebell also advises residents to tell children to not open the door for anyone.

Anyone doing door to door sales or business in Manila should have a permit issued through city hall. Isebell also advises residents to ask to see the city permit and if they have any doubts, to call city hall to see if a permit has been issued to that person.

"If they are legitimate salesmen, they will have no problems with you checking up on them," Isebell said. "The thieves going door to door are very pushy and persistent. Residents need to hold their ground, ask them to leave and call the police immediately."

Isebell said the theft is under investigation and if anyone has any information they can contact the Manila Police Department.

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