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HPD: 'Magazine-selling' thieves a hoax


Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 23:01

A Facebook post written Wednesday warning apartment residents of three individuals posing as solicitors and allegedly robbing and invading residents’ homes has been labeled a hoax by the Huntsville Police Department.

HPD Lt. Curt Landrum said after calling apartment complexes listed in the Facebook post, sifting through criminal records, phone calls and talking to other officers he was able to label the rumor as false.

The Facebook post circulated among Sam Houston State University students’ news feed and claimed “there are 3 guys that are going door to door posing to sell magazine…it is 1 white guy and 2 black guys that are scoping out the perfect victims to rob.”

The Arbors of Sam Houston, the Connection at Huntsville and the Villas on Sycamore were listed as targeted apartment complexes in the Facebook post. However, HPD police logs from Monday and Tuesday showed no reports or arrests that fit the description of the alleged robberies.

According to Landrum, he first heard of the rumor after a Huntsville citizen called asking about the Facebook post that circulated through SHSU students’ news feeds.

“We had a citizen call and ask about it that lived in one of the complexes and happened to know one of our officers personally,” Landrum said. “I have no idea as to how this began.”

Arbors leasing manager Kendall Scudder said he heard about the rumor from residents calling and voicing their concern. Scudder said a text message was sent out to Arbors’ residents to remind them of the situation and to be cautious when answering their door. The Arbors at Sam Houston, the Connection at Huntsville and the Villas on Sycamore ban soliciting on their property as well.

“We have a very safe community here, and we want to keep it that way,” Scudder said.

Two days prior to the Facebook post, Connections leasing manager David Bowles said he received a call regarding three individuals who fit the Facebook description on his way back from his lunch break. Bowles said he pulled over at Crosstimbers Street and Normal Park Drive to talk to the individuals regarding the soliciting policy at the Connections and asked them to refrain.

Bowles said the group was “courteous” and understood his request.

Although HPD hasn’t received any calls pertaining to suspicious individuals, Landrum urged students and citizens to notify police. If an individual sees suspicious activity after the fact, call the non-emergency hotline at 936-435-8001.

“If it continues it may reach a level of harassment or a terroristic threat,” Landrum said.

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