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
Attorney: Man accused of trying to open plane's door needs psychiatric evaluation
49-year-old sentenced to 40-50 years for attempted sex assault of child
Brothers looking for pot sentenced for violent home invasion
At Boys Town panel, experts stress it's never too early to educate children
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Gov. Heineman calls 2014 a 'very good year for Nebraska taxpayers'
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Arrest made in teen's shooting death at Benson's Gallagher Park
Section of 50th Street to close for bridge demolition
Nikko Jenkins found guilty of 4 murders
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
Plans for new $16M YMCA in Council Bluffs at 'critical juncture'
Woodmen request would take nearly $40M in valuation from tax rolls
With fixed AC, Fort Calhoun's nuclear station ends brief shutdown
Windy day could make driving difficult on east-west roads
Richard Brown steps down as Charles Drew Health Center CEO
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
OPD safety expo set for April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Crew working to disassemble International Nutrition plant
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
18-year-old arrested in stolen-car case
U.S. Senate candidate Bart McLeay trails his 3 GOP rivals in fundraising
86-year-old Holdrege man killed in weekend collision
New police gang intervention specialist knows firsthand about getting involved with wrong crowd
< >
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Breaking Brad: Pothole repair crew gets stuck in a pothole
In East Lansing, Mich., a pothole repair crew got stuck inside a pothole. How did this not happen in Omaha?
Breaking Brad: What do the moon, Colorado senators have in common?
How about that "blood red" moon Monday? It was as red as the eyes of a Colorado legislator.
Breaking Brad: Hey, Republicans, are you ready to be audited?
A quick list of audit red flags: 3) You fail to sign your return. 2) You fail to report income. 1) You are a registered Republican.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
< >
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.
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 »