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Updated: Suspicious Man in Hanover Area Claiming to be a School Official

The Buffalo School District issued a statement today regarding a suspicious man in the Hanover area.

Updated 7:51 a.m.

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office did confirm that the gentleman who approached the home in the Bridges of Hanover development Thursday was a black male. A sketch and further description is not currently available.

While the description of the individual may seen generic, Sgt. Michaelson warned the importance of calling the police if something is suspicious. "If someone is knocking on your door claiming to be from the school district, call the police regardless of description," he said.

Original Friday 10:26 p.m.

The Buffalo School District sent out a district wide statement today regarding a report of a suspicious man in Hanover on Thursday afternoon. More specifically, the Bridges of Hanover development. The man approached a home and told the family he was from the school district, even issuing an id and wanted to speak to any students in the household. The family did not oblige but instead informed the school district.

Here is the statement:

It was brought to our attention that a house, in the Bridges of Hanover area, was visited yesterday by a man (approximately 5’6”, 140-150
lbs., wearing a plaid/checkered shirt) claiming to be a district representative. He wanted to speak with the students living there. The man supposedly presented an id badge of some sort, but the man was turned away from the home, unsuccessful in his efforts to speak with the children.

This was not a district representative of BHM Schools or any other surrounding district that we know of. Typically districts do not send people out to random homes to make “house calls.” While this incident may be isolated, we wanted to make you aware of this situation, in case it should
happen again. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department has been notified of this incident. If you encounter a similar situation, you can report it by calling the non-emergency number for the Hennepin County Sheriff Office at 763-525-6216.

If you live in St. Michael or Albertville and see a man of this description approaching homes and asking to speak with students, please contact the Wright County Sheriff Office at (763) 682-1162.

Brian July 14, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The gentlemen just came to our house, he is very nice young person trying to earn a living, sounds to me like a misunderstanding, he looks a little different than most Hanover people but he is just trying to live the American dream, you can all relax now.
Laura Nielsen July 14, 2012 at 04:27 PM
If he misrepresented himself as 'coming from the school district' and is now changing his story, it's still sketchy and should be reported. There are many companies who exploit young people by making them go door to door in the summer months and then don't pay them or charge them for transportation, etc. at the end of summer. Unless they are collecting money for a charitable organization, chances are that they do not have a license to solicit in this state and should be reported. A common approach is for them to say something like "I am working for an organization that helps young people get off the streets and get an education so I'm selling magazines/cleaning products/books..." I saw that a legislator said to ask any young door to door person if they are being exploited or held against their will (he even offered for a door to door person to use his cell phone to call his parents whom he hadn't talked to all summer...you will often see vans dropping off groups at the end of the block). Or, don't answer your door to strangers and put out DO NOT SOLICIT signs.
Tim July 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Brian. Did you happen to catch the make and model of his car? I believe the same person was in Albertville last weekend selling books. He never mentioned that he was a school district representative when he stopped at our house.
Mother July 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
This is very sad to hear. This is a crime against young citizens. So many terrible things going on in the world involving children. Thank-you for the info. Laura.
Lisa July 15, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I believe there may be some confusion. While I can't comment on the incident in Hanover, I can comment on the young man who has been selling supplemental educational materials door-to-door. I believe his name is Cuda? He is a polite, friendly and very respectful young man and is part of a program that has been soliciting in this area during the summer months for years. He is harmless and a perfect gentlemen. I have had several interactions with him because at the time he was soliciting our neighborhood in Albertville, we always met him in the driveway on our way to different activities so I always had to tell him to come back. We were also in the process of moving so I never actually sat down with him face-to-face. However, the difference between my experience with this young man (and other young people from this program) and from what the The Patch article reports, is that he does NOT ask to speak with children and he does not lead you to believe he is from the school district. I suppose he may ask for suggestions on other neighbors to visit by asking who has school aged children but that is simply a sales technique and not something that should be concerning. I am very concerned that because of the recent reports in Hanover and the simple fact that the educational salesman is an African American male, that we as a community may misjudge his intentions.
Lisa July 15, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I believe all door-to-door salespersons are required to get a license through the city? At least that is the way it used to be in Albertville. Assuming this gentlemen carries a license, it should be pretty easy to track him down and separate him from the incident in Hanover.
Jessica Akes July 16, 2012 at 12:36 AM
My brother and uncle have met this young man and he is a harmless college student trying to earn a living! He never asked to speak with children and never claimed he was a district representative. He DID ask if there were school age children living at the residence and he DID ask what district the kids are a part of but those are good questions for someone selling text books for supplemental learning. Just because he looks different does NOT mean he is suspicious! The badge he is carrying just shows that he is a legitimate licensed salesman for Sylvan Learning Center. CALM DOWN PEOPLE! This man is simply trying to do a job and he KNOWS that he is being talked about this way. How hurtful and what kind of message is this sending about the citizens of the St. Michael Albertville Hanover area. I understand your children are number one and it's your jobs to protect them but it's unfair to jump to conclusions. Put yourself in someone else's shoes!
Willow July 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I think I may be missing something? I don't see anything in the story that gives a good enough description that would allow someone to know for sure who this person was? He could be a salesman and he could be a creepo. We had a very pushy man trying to sell us books a month or so ago and he meets the description above but so do half the men in STMA. However, this guy did not misrepresent himself. I wonder too if there was simply a miscommunication between a salesman and the above homeowners? The sales people I've had come to the door over the years scare me because they are SO pushy and I've had them get visably when I've said no thank you. I don't appreciate having to literally close the door in someone's face to make them go away and I REALLY wish they wouldn't come around.
Willow July 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM
That would be "visably angry".
St. M resident July 16, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Willow, I'm right there with you! While I understand that we all have to start at the bottom and work our way up when it comes to a job - I'm no exception - door to door sales people make me nervous! How many homes are there in the STMA area? Hundreds. Have we ever heard of something bad happening? I don't recall we have. But still....They see where you live, whether or not you have young children (which I do), and who knows what they are thinking! Sorry to stretch this so far (think Elizabeth Smart) but the fact is no family is immune.
Trish July 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Interesting! Yesterday mid afternoon a man in his 20's approach our home in Albertville. Our children are 6 & 8 and they thought it was a neighborhood friend. Over the years we've told them NEVER EVER open the door if it's a stranger. Well, they went to answer it and realized it's a stranger. Thank God they have been listening all these years....lol! They ran up the stairs and yelled "mom, there is a stranger outside." I told them to stand back and opened the door. He was selling books and when I asked for his license (from the city) to sell door to door he got agitated and very upset. He basically ran from our front step and acted very weird. I reported him immediately to the authorities. Something wasn't right and I went with my gut feeling, which is always the right choice. Be careful!
mike July 17, 2012 at 01:02 AM
He may be a nice young man, but is he being exploited? Is he unknowingly collecting information for an id thief to use later? Does he have a permit to solicit? If he is legit, he would at least have that. I really want to help out people trying to hoist themselves up, and I'd even help him get a permit... ask for a phone number to the home office to verify them, and the permit number and see how many excuses they have, and how quick they disappear.
STMAMOM July 17, 2012 at 02:29 AM
The company is called Southwestern. Look up information at www.southwestern.com. I have friends who did this and it is legit.
Sarah July 18, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I live in Big Lake and there is also a college student going door to door selling books for the schools or at least he says he is. Not sure if true or not but I didn't buy anything but he was very persistent on me listening to him. I finally had to just go inside and lock the door.
Ann July 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
He came to our home as well and told us that he is with the school district! He did not ask to talk to my children, however he asked if I had children. He was very polite, but very pushy. We have a no solicitors sign on our house and it never stops anyone. My husband travels alot and I do not appreciate solicitors of any kind coming to my door. Hense the reason for the sign on the house! All of these ignorant people telling other people to settle down on here is very disturbing to me. I have had to call the police several times in the 10 years we have lived in St. Michael, due to solicitors looking in my windows, and telling me that, "I am going to get it" for not supporting their cause. Threats, and my privacy being violated? No you settle down! I have every right to judge a person, especially ones trying to sell me reading material when they could not read the sign on my house!!!
Lisa July 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I do not believe the individuals who are-and I use this term lightly-defending the solicitor, are asking people to let their guards down when an unknown person knocks on their door. I just felt the need to share my experience because the idea that a man asked to talk to children at the Hanover home caused me, and I assume others, to jump to the conclusion that this man is a child predator and, based on my experience, I do not think that is the case. When I consider the Buffalo School District's and the Hennepin County Sheriff's statements, I believe this story stretches much further than "how do I feel about solicitors?" A much more important question to ask, and the one that really jumps out at me when I consider the facts of the Hanover interaction is, "Is this man a danger to our homes and our children?" In my experience, the answer is no. The question, "Did I find him to be, as I find all solicitors, annoying and pushy?" is irrelevant in an instance when a solicitor has asked to talk to children! I don't think anyone has asked you to "settle down."
Lisa July 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM
And, I don't feel ignorance is defined as disagreeing with another's opinion.
Mom July 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM
A man with the same description was reported attempting to abduct a boy in my neighborhood in St. Michael yesterday. NO ONE can EVER be to careful! Luckily, this boy started yelling and went to the home he was at. We are now all living in fear in our neighborhood. Could this be the same person, maybe...maybe not...however, everyone at all times needs to be aware of what is out there.
Curtis Pottenger September 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM
It seems the residents like to embellish there reports to the police with false details if they do not approve of the color or sexual preference of the visitor. I wish i could give the benefit of doubt to Bridges at Hanover but that was never afforded to my friend and I. The police never took a statement from me and I was the only person who could truly account for every minute of my friends visit. I am truly disappointed in everything that happened that night and 3 out of the four people reporting the incident were police officers. Yes, David Johnson was acting in the capacity of a concerned neighbor but, if this is an example of how our police actions on and off duty, I am concerned for my safety while staying in this community. Curtis Pottenger
Curtis Pottenger September 10, 2012 at 07:08 PM
if you could publish the other submissions prior to this it would be greatly appreciated but if you can not then to sum up my experience with The Bridges at Hanover: Lack of street lights and the ignorance of some of the residents over racial and sexual preferences makes me question the reports and motives of these residents
Katie September 18, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Who said anything about the sexual preference of this person? If by that you are referring to his interest in school aged children, then NO, we do not approve. Embellishment comes in many forms, like adding to a report what wasn't there to begin with.

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