ALBANY -- Mayor Pro Tem and Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta has asked the commission to overhaul its anti-peddling ordinance in the wake of a growing number of scam artists flowing through the city.
Marietta said he's been working with City Attorney Nathan Davis to further restrict the city's existing ordinance, which prohibits unsolicited house calls from people pitching a service or product between the hours of 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and Sunday.
Marietta said he would like to ban "peddlers" -- which are defined in the city code as "any individual, whether a resident of this city or not, traveling by foot, wagon, automobile, motor truck or any other type of conveyance, from place to place, from house to house, or from street to street, for the sale of, as well as the selling, offering for sale or taking or attempting to take orders for the sale of goods, wares and merchandise, personal property of any nature whatsoever for future delivery, or for services to be furnished or performed in the future, whether or not such individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the subject of such sale or whether he or she is collecting advance payments on such sales or not ..." -- from operating within the city limits unless in places where specifically invited via posted sign.
The discussion on the ordinance will come as roving bands of "peddlers" continue to knock on doors in neighborhoods throughout the city, hocking everything from alarm systems, to air conditioners to repaving driveways and "sealing" roofs; taking down payments and either doing partial or faulty work, or simply taking the money and heading to their next victim.
In law enforcement circles, these peddlers are often known as Irish Travelers or traveling gypsies, and are known for moving from town to town, conning unsuspecting people -- often the elderly -- into parting with their cash and moving out of the area, often without a trace.
The ordinance doesn't apply to people who are affiliated with permanent businesses who engage in the delivery of goods or services. The ordinance also exempts traveling sales persons who sale goods to dealers or vendors, residents of the state who sale meat, fruits or vegetables and solicitations made by educational, religious or charitable organizations.