Burglars portray magazine salesmen in Oak Harbor
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
March 4, 2011 · Updated 1:59 PM
The Oak Harbor Police Department emailed a “community alert” this week cautioning residents about giving financial information to people selling magazines door to door.
Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner explained that a rather unusual burglary precipitated the alerts. A police officer caught a couple of door-to-door magazine salesmen leaving a house they allegedly broke into last month.
“It’s not often that we catch someone in the act,” Gardner said. “And it was all due to the vigilance of an observant neighbor.”
According to the police, an Oak Harbor resident called the police on Feb. 22 after seeing a couple of men walking around a neighbor’s house; the caller knew that the neighbor wasn’t home at the time.
Officers Manuel Silveira and Ron Esparza arrived at the scene. Silveira walked around back and saw two men come out of the back door. He ordered them to stop, but they both took off running, Gardner said.
Esparza caught one of the men, later identified as 20-year-old Derrick Moss, but the other burglar ran away, Gardner said. But a short time later, Officer Serloyd Carter caught 19-year-old Richard Miller hiding in a neighbor’s shed, the detective said.
Both men were arrested on suspicion of residential burglary and possession of marijuana. According to Gardner, Moss claimed that Miller stole a red camera from the home. It was recovered in a neighbor’s yard.
The two men said they were in Oak Harbor soliciting magazine sales. They worked for an out-of-state company that buses employees all over the country to sell magazines.
Gardner urged that residents use caution in giving out any type of financial information to people who are hawking magazines or other items door to door. She said it’s a poor idea to give out credit card information or even checks, since they have financial information on them.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.