On Tue Jun 10 15:33:36 2008, the following results were submitted from the "Contact Us" on crime-safety-security.com:
First Name: Sheila
E-mail Address: [deleted]
Country: United States
Comments: Your website is excellent. I've been spreading it to everyone I know since I found it -- I started looking online for information about avoiding rape ever since hearing about a woman in Santa Cruz, CA, who was kidnapped from a store and did basically everything wrong.
I had a specific experience that I am always interested in hearing opinions on. I work in a store that provides custom fabrication services, as such, the business space is divided between the sales floor and the shop, with very limited visibility between the two. Most of our time is spent in the shop, and we have an infrared doorbell to alert us when a customer comes in.
One day, the owner and I were working in the back. At around 10:30, a customer came in and we were alerted by the doorbell. Around 11:45, a subsequent customer had to seek us out in the shop, because the doorbell didn't go off and we had no idea she was there.
When I investigated, I discovered that the doorbell mechanism had been turned off completely. I determined that it could not have happened by accident, and that it would have been possible to do from outside -- reaching around the door jam to hit the switch without tripping the sensor.
The owner thought I was overreacting when I said it was certainly a lead up to something worse.
Later that day, we were visited by a man who said he was selling advertisements in a coupon book to raise money for "sick children." He was asking only $12 -- an amount far too low -- in cash or check up front. I told him, "We can't do this kind of thing right now." He continued to demand a check, at which point I lied and said that only the owner could write checks on our business account. He left abruptly.
The opinion that I got from my boyfriend, who has been preaching the same self-defense techniques that you have on your site for years, is that the doorbell was both a setup and a test. A would-be thief will have shut it off, and if, upon returning, it was turned on again, he'll know we were wary and alert.
At the time I didn't connect the doorbell with the advertising scam, but now I'm convinced that they were the same person. The advertisement sale was his back-up, an excuse to get money (and checking account information) out of the store if he could not take the store by surprise after all.
Thanks, Sheila. I agree that, in all likelihood, he was bogus. Apparently, he was trying to get some money from you one way or another. Your boss is lucky you work for him but probably doesn’t realize it (naïve people don’t realize that they’re naïve).
Your subsequent e-mail included the “advertising salesman’s” many other suspicious details that fall into the endless variety of scams, cons, and lures that I’ve described in Mind Games. Fortunately, they didn’t escape your healthy Intuition.