Suspicious so-called alternative energy company sales people attempted to rob one Maris Street home, the Roxborough resident told Patch.
Alex Gross, from the 600 block of Maris Street, said Monday evening three, African-American phony sales people in their mid-20s approached his home in what he called a robbery attempt.
At 6:30 p.m. Gross said a young black woman knocked on his door carrying a binder. Two young men paced around behind her. Gross described the encounter:
"She asked me if I was in charge of the PECO bill at my house, I said no. She asked if that person was available and I said no...and then she said 'yes they are, they're right behind you. Look behind you, over there!'
"And so, hearing about such attempts before, I just closed the door and called the police. The police said that they had a similar call come in from Roxborough Avenue, and it turned out they were going door-to-door there as well."
In 2011, Pennsylvania began allowing alternate energy companies to supply electricity to consumers. According to the PA Public Utility Commission, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians have switched. These companies often send out employees to entice consumers to change suppliers.
5th District Police Captain John Cerrone said no arrests were reported but would put a message out to squad cars, telling officers to be on the lookout.
"The best advice is to request identification and to not let anyone in the house. You should contact the police if it's not legitimate sales person," he said. "No matter what they are soliciting, you should always ask for identification."
Gross called 911, and posted a message on Facebook Monday, encouraging residents to do the same if they see anything.
Cerrone said any information people can provide police always helps.
"Sometimes, I hear people say they saw a suspicious person sitting on their neighbors' step but didn't want to do anything about it. Then they'll tell us when there's a burglary a day or two later," he said.
Andrea Dwyer said in October: "The extremely young salesman didn't have a business card or know information about the rates or increases, and was easily confused by simple questions, so I asked him to leave information and we'd contact the company directly."
Stephanie Arentzen said he did not feel "threatened but instantly made my guard go up... Then not to mention wanting me to leave him at my door step to go get him my old bills. Nothing about it seemed okay."
Others said suspicious happenings occurred on Dawson Street, Kalos Street and in Upper Roxborough, while other neighbors said they just don't open their doors.
Some residents said they've switched to alternate energy with a door-to-door sales person, but it was above board the entire time—the person showed ID and provided a phone number to speak to a supervisor.
Olivia Biagi said she experienced this while living in South Philadelphia, and the salesman in Roxborough behaved professionally.
"I never felt threatened or uncomfortable and he made no move to get inside my apartment he stayed outside the entire time," she said.
Cerrone told citizens to call 911 during any incidents. If they have information for police, people can reach out to the 5th District at 215-686-3050.
Visit PAPowerSwitch.com for info on electric companies.