HOWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in one New Jersey town are cracking down on illegal soliciting, and the suspects they’re after have a very unique way of getting around.
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick on Wednesday about illegal solicitors going door to door throughout the township.
Baker obtained police body cam footage that shows an interaction with representatives from Aptive pest removal.
Over the past month, the town has received dozens of complaints that Aptive solicitors are working without a solicitation permit required by the town, and they are getting around using new technology — battery-operated hoverboards.
The electronic skateboards are not the issue. The problem is Aptive employees do not have solicitation permits to knock on doors. A permit costs $75 per person, Baker reported.
When asked what needs to be done to get a permit, Chief Kudrick said, “They have to apply with the township. In order to do that, you just go right up to town hall, they fill out a solicitation permit and with that it gets brought down to the police department. We do a thorough background check on the people and also the company to make sure they are a reputable company and that the people that are going door to door don’t have any type of background that would cause us concern.”
So it’s more about safety?
“Yeah, it is. We want to make sure our residents remain safe,” Kudrick said.
Police said the solicitors roll into town in a van together and then disperse on their hoverboards. Many have been warned about their need for a permit.
Chief Kudrick reminded residents that they should always ask to see someone’s permit when they knock on your door.
Informed resident Suzanne Veitengruber did just that on Monday.
“I asked him if he had a permit and he said, ‘I don’t need one.’ I said, ‘Yes, you do. This is the law in Howell Township,'” Veitengruber said.
She said she went to call the police and the man took off.
“These people are trying to take advantage of older people. If a child answers the door, that’s a very serious situation,” Veitengruber said.
CBS2 reached out to Aptive pest removal multiple times but did not hear back.