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Bossier Parish Police Jury places hold on peddler's license after reports of suspicious activity

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BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTBS) -

Selling books and magazines - that's what they claim to be doing.

But residents in several Bossier Parish neighborhoods aren't so sure, after run-ins with suspicious door-to-door salespeople.

The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Department responded to 21 complaint calls in subdivisions across the parish, from December 17th through January 7th, in reference to people knocking on doors peddling a variety of goods and services.

"Businesses would bring in transient sellers, employees, to go door-to-door to solicit," explains Capt. William Cox wit the BPSO.

Sheriff's officials say these people are often bused in from out of state and dropped off in neighborhoods like Rosedale Place, where residents say, on several occasions, someone knocked on their door claiming they were selling goods, but couldn't offer proof of who they are or who they work for.

In one case, a resident says the same woman knocked on her door, several days in a row, while a man in a car waited nearby.

The Bossier Parish Police Jury responded to this same issue last year, creating a peddler's license, something they're now examining more closely.

The first to apply - a company called Freedom, Inc.- based out of El Lago, TX, according to their application.

Their application says their employees would be "all throughout out Bossier City", "selling magazines and children's books."

The problem, authorities discovered, is that some of the employees have a criminal history.

"They do have criminal histories, they do have active warrants and that's a concern for the sheriff's department and also for the police jury," Cox says.

Officials found some of the solicitors carried fake ID's and had active warrants, primarily for misdemeanor offenses such as traffic violations or failure to appear.

Because of that, no more peddler's licenses will be issued for the next 90 days, while the police jury can establish a better process for vetting those who apply for a license.

"We'll continue to work with the police jury to try to refine the process so that way we can have the best results for this procedure."

KTBS 3 News reached out to Jerald Perkins, the person with Freedom, Inc., who applied for - and was granted - a peddler's license.

He didn't return any calls, but that company's license was officially revoked at Wednesday's police jury meeting.

Remember, always report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.

The license currently allows solicitation between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but states no specific days of the week.

It also requires the holder to carry a valid form of ID and a copy of the license itself.

It also forbids the license holder to "enter or approach any private residence at which signs are present which expressly prohibit solicitation/peddling."

Right now, the license is good for one year.

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