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Solicitor arrested on warrant

Police say case points to need to keep an eye on transient salespeople

DALLAS -- A door-to-door solicitor in Dallas was arrested on a parole violation Dec. 7.

Cheary Ann Watson, 33, formerly of Michigan, was taken into custody shortly after 8 p.m. when officers found her going door to door in the 200 block of N.W. Denton Street.

There was a "parole absconder" warrant for her arrest from the State of Michigan.

Watson was caught because, earlier in the afternoon, Roderick Johnson applied for a solicitor permit at the police department.

Johnson identified himself as a sales supervisor for K & S Enterprises, a Chicago-based company which sells cleaning products.

Doing a routine background check, police discovered that Johnson (the supervisor of the group) had a criminal history for burglary and armed robbery.

However, despite his history, he wasn't currently wanted for any crime. They also learned there was a Michigan warrant for Watson, a member of the sales crew.

Johnson was asked to return to the office at the end of the day and to bring his crew so the permits could be personally issued.

Johnson returned, but failed to bring his coworkers as requested. He left, saying he was going to get them. However, as of the close of business, neither Johnson or any of his sales crew returned to the police department.

Officers were aware of Johnson's van should he or his crew be found soliciting later in the evening.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m., Officer Marty Collingham located the van parked at the Jackpot Market in town. Collingham contacted the people in the van and learned that most of the crew claimed they had been told by Johnson that they had the necessary permits

Collingham reported that Watson was not with the crew, although Johnson admitted she was working in the area of N.W. Denton Street.

Collingham and Officer Justin Stevenson checked the Denton Street area and ultimately located Watson and several of her associates going door-to-door.

Watson was taken into custody on the warrant and lodged in the Polk County Jail. No charges were filed against Johnson or the others.

But they were told to stop their activities because they didn't have the proper permits.

Michigan authorities plan to pursue extradition proceedings if Watson does not willingly return.

Dallas City Code 7.610 prohibits solicitation within the city of Dallas without first having obtained a registration certificated, commonly referred to as a solicitor permit.

The code also restricts solicitation to the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during daylight saving time, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during standard time.

If a solicitor visits a Dallas home and, for any reason, does not provide a permit when asked, citizens should call the police department and try to provide a description of the person and direction of travel.

If traveling in a car or van, a vehicle description and especially the license plate will expedite locating the persons.

The potential for locating the suspects is directly proportionate to the amount and quality of information which can be provided to responding officers, said Lt. Tom Simpson of the Dallas Police Department.

As a reminder, citizens are cautioned not to place themselves in harms way while trying to gather information.

"The police department strives to ensure that persons authorized to solicit in our residential areas are of good character and do not pose any type of risk to the community," said Simpson.

"As evidenced by this most recent incident, the permit process is one of our most important tools to facilitate these efforts.

"Solicitors who are issued permits by the police department are told they must carry their permit on their person at all times while conducting their business, and also that they are required to produce them for inspection should a citizen ask.

"If someone comes to your door selling something, I encourage you to first ask to see their solicitor permit issued by Dallas Police Department."


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