Unlicensed magazine peddlers have Omaha residents riled - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 9:49 am
Unlicensed magazine peddlers have Omaha residents riled

A magazine subscription sales crew is raising the hackles of Omaha residents, including some who are getting police involved.

Steve Kalhorn, who lives in the Memorial Park neighborhood, said unlicensed magazine salespeople have approached him four times in the past three weeks. He and several neighbors called 911 last week about the soliciting, and police arrested a 22-year-old Detroit man.

Douglas County Court records show the man, who works for Opportunity Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., spent three days in jail for peddling without a license. The same man spent one day in jail in August for the same offense.

“I'm just tired of seeing these guys in our neighborhood,” Kalhorn said. “If you don't buy from them, they get real belligerent.”

Bridget Fitzpatrick, a crime prevention specialist for the Omaha Police Department's northwest precinct, said there are “about 50 to 60” magazine salespeople operating in Omaha right now. She praised Kalhorn and his neighbors for warning each other about the unlicensed peddlers via the Internet.

“Their Neighborhood Watch group did so well communicating with each other and the Police Department, and that's how we became aware of this group,” Fitzpatrick said. “Then we realized they were operating in neighborhoods all over Omaha.”

Fitzpatrick said she spoke with a supervisor for Opportunity Inc. and was told the company had no intention of following the city ordinance requiring a peddler's license for each salesperson. Calls to the supervisor Wednesday went unanswered.

Omaha City Prosecutor David Smallheiser said that he didn't have any figures on recent arrests but that he expects “anyone selling without a license to be jailed.”

The permits and inspections division of the Omaha Planning Department issues peddling licenses. The licenses must be shown upon request, and information on them includes the name of the company, the name of the salesperson and the official seal of the City of Omaha.

The cost of a peddler's license is $15 per week, $30 per month or $50 for six months. Small­heiser said he finds it “very odd” that the magazine company doesn't plan to comply.

“Every summer, it's not unusual to find crews coming through here selling magazines,” Smallheiser said. “What's surprising is that most people respond to a simple request to get a permit, but this company has chosen not to do that.”

The Better Business Bureau has given Opportunity Inc. an F rating and sent out several warnings about their business practices. Jim Hegarty, president of the BBB serving southwest Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and the Kansas plains, said it is “a classic example” of a company not to be trusted.

“Our F rating is the biggest red flag we can raise,” Hegarty said. “If someone is taken in by these people, it's pretty likely they will never get their magazines.”

Contact the writer: Kevin Cole

kevin.cole@owh.com    |   402-444-1272    |  

Kevin Cole covers workings of police, courts and government and writes features about interesting subjects in Omaha and the surrounding counties.

Read more related stories
Oil industry ad campaign mocks Nebraska cowboys who protested Keystone XL pipeline
In Omaha, bus tour calls for hourly minimum wage over $10
Fremont police searching for missing 56-year-old man
Prosecutor: Baby might be alive if day care employer had spoken up
NRA seeks universal gun law at national meeting
Beau McCoy calls Pete Ricketts a 'convenient conservative' for immigration stance
Omaha senator seeks minimum wage ballot measure
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Police probe bank robbery
Man accused of trying to open flying plane's door pleads not guilty
Ben Sasse shifts tactics, calls ad by Shane Osborn 'hypocritical'
Forecast on the upswing after Thursday's rain
EB Harney Street lane closed
Ex-UNMC student loses appeal; claimed program didn't make accommodations for his depression
Grace: Your older self has a request — use sunscreen
At NU's helm, J.B. Milliken built the university by building relationships with state leaders
City's Personnel Board is behind ‘ban-the-box’ proposal
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Richard Paul Dreier, 90, was wounded in attack during WWII
Police issue arrest warrant in teen's shooting death
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Construction to start in May on West Broadway apartment/retail structure
3 Nebraska Board of Education candidates call for high standards
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: 117-mph riding lawnmowers and 12-scoop banana splits
The Chicago White Sox are selling a 12-scoop banana split inside a full-size batting helmet for $17. You know what you'd call someone in Chicago who'd eat this? "Health nut."
Breaking Brad: Walmart beats Russia, stakes a claim on the moon
Russia is claiming it owns a section of the moon. If you follow the news, you know this probably doesn't end well.
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
The 1984 NFL draft was unusual for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and these days it's remembered in the name of a rock band, the 1984 Draft. Tonight, the band is featured on the NFL Network.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »