Church Group Soliciting Patrons at Rochester Stores Causes Concern (UPDATED)
Patrons are getting solicited by teenagers in Rochester store parking lots: Apache Mall, Home Depot, Walmart and Target while either sitting in their car or walking into the store. When stopped some teens are asking if they’re interested in purchasing 3-D prints (pictures of birds, etc) and then when declined they move on to another person. They say they’re raising money for a church. Kayla Brekke shared the experience on Facebook out of concern, possible human trafficking:
We checked with Rochester Police Department on this matter.
"Anytime people are approached and something seems odd we want to hear about it," said Rochester Police Captain John Sherwin. "Call the non-emergency number unless you feel it is an emergency then call 9-1-1. Trust your instincts."
When asked about if this is legal, Captain Sherwin said it depends. City ordinance does allow a group to solicit patrons if the property owner allows it. A permit is required to solicit door-to-door. Best bet is to notify property security to be sure or ask to see a permit if they come to your door. If you’re uncertain what to do, you can decline any further interaction.
Eau Claire PD apparently had similar incidents, this is what they were able to uncover about it, stating that it didn't appear that it was linked to human trafficking. They include information on how to handle solicitation.