Sr Lead Officer Wight, for lower San Pedro, has been in contact with members of local Neighborhood Watch groups. (Contact Officer Wight for photos recently obtained of one of the individuals in question).
One person told Officer Wight that they had been scammed this way a couple of years ago:
From Officer Wight: “Recently we've been having problems in the South Shores area with panhandlers and door to door salespeople. So far I've heard of a team of 1 female Hispanic and 2 male Blacks, all in their early 20's, a single male Hispanic in his early 20's, and a group of teenagers, of unknown ethnicity and gender going door to door in the neighborhood, often stating that they are selling magazines, or possibly not stating what they are selling at all. I want to remind everyone, not only should you not purchase anything from these people, but you should also not answer the door to them. Engaging with them only encourages them to return to the neighborhood. In addition I have received word from a number of people who have talked to them that these individuals become rude or even verbally aggressive upon being questioned or when asked for a permit or identification. If these individuals were operating under a legitimate charity they would gladly and readily show you their paperwork and ID. I have been spending as much time I as possibly can scouring the area looking for these people, but have yet to come across any of them. It could just be that I haven't gotten lucky yet, or it could be that they are actively avoiding contact with the police. That being said, if you do see these individuals, do not purchase anything from them. Should you decide to engage with them, let them know that there is a very active neighborhood watch in the area, that you and all of your neighbors are watching them, and that you want them out of your neighborhood. Be sure to let them know that you will call the police and ask that they respond to escort them out of the neighborhood.
If you see a door to door salesman, please call the front desk at 310-726-7700 and ask for a patrol car to come by. If you see any of these individuals looking into car windows, pulling on door handles, looking into homes, trying gates or doors, or going around to the rear of any of your neighbors properties, go ahead and call 911. Try and give the 911 operator the best description you can of the individual(s), gender, ethnicity, age, approximate height and weight, clothing, and any vehicles that might be involved, where the suspects are located or which direction you last saw them go. DO NOT attempt to engage with them, leave that to the police. But the more information you can provide for the responding officers, the better. Also, if you so choose, you can provide your name and phone number (or just your phone number) which will be placed in the comments of the call for the Officers. Often we will call back on our way to the location so we can get real time information from you. Remember it takes a few minutes after you call for the information to get to the police officers. So if we can all you ahead of time while we are still on our way there, it helps us not get stuck behind the "8 ball". Often times these individuals use magazine sales as a ruse to cover their real intention which is to check and see who is home at what times of the day. Charities all have websites and phone numbers that you can contact, most of these individuals will tell you that there isn't one or that they don't know what it is. It's always a good plan to be suspicious of unsolicited offers. Please remember folks, if [you] didn't request the service, chances are good that they are not to be trusted. It's always better to err on the side of caution.”