Door-to-door pitchman went too far, arrested for theft in Tonawanda

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TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Door-to-door canvassers for a Florida-based energy services company (ESCO) are getting a tough reception in Western New York: the Town of Cheektowaga revoked their solicitors licenses, Monday, and one of their co-workers was arrested for theft last week.

The sales people have been knocking on doors, signing up new customers for a company called New York Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of U.S. Gas and Electric, Inc. which is headquartered in Miramar, FL.

When a group of the NYG&E peddlers was knocking on doors in the City of Tonawanda two weeks ago, a homeowner let one of the workers in, and during his sales pitch, Capt. Fredric Foels said the representative asked for an aspirin.

“He had a headache, and she left the room, and apparently her purse was in plain site, and the rep went into her purse and stole $414.”

The woman called police, and the company. To their credit, Capt. Foels said NYG&E paid the homeowner back.

“An unknown assistant manager from that company showed up at her house and gave her the $414 back. However we still went through with the arrest.”

The worker, identified as Timothy Vincent, 26, was fired, and his peddler’s permit was revoked. Capt. Foels offered advice to people when a stranger knocks, it would be best to keep the peddler out of the house.

“Especially if it is a one-on-one situation, or if there are two reps coming into your house, where there are two people sitting at your kitchen table–I would not allow that. Stop them at the door, get their brochures, tell them you will review it, and if you are interested, you will call them back.”

New York Gas and Electric seemed to get off to a bad start in Tonawanda. Capt. Foels said when the company applied for its peddlers permits, 4 of its 8 applicants for were rejected after failing a police background check.

Ironically, with only 4 licensed peddlers working in the City of Tonawanda, tracking down the suspect was a lot easier for police.

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