ST. GEORGE — Several incidents of suspicious activity related to COVD-19, including an aggressive suspect who was going door to door asking to take children’s temperatures, have been reported in St. George this week.
One resident told St. George News that shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday he returned to his home located in the southeast area of St. George after running a short errand. He was told by a family member that a man knocked on their door and said he was there to take the children’s temperature to check for coronavirus.
The family member refused him access to the children, nor did they let him into the home, even though the suspect initially placed one foot inside of the door jam which prevented her from closing the door.
After a stern warning, the man finally went on his way and the police were called, the reader said.
The suspect also told the resident there was a fee for the service. But since she told him to leave, he never told her what that fee actually was.
The family member was very upset while relaying the information to the resident who reported the incident to St. George News.
“She was very, very frightened with two small children in the home,” he said, adding that he called 911 minutes later to report the incident.
St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin confirmed the report, saying the man ran from the area when he became aware that police were called.
While checking with the neighbors, the reader discovered two of them had a similar experience with a suspect that knocked on their door asking to take the children’s temperatures.
The suspect is described as a white male over 6 feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a plaid shirt and was carrying a clipboard containing a blank piece of lined paper. He had no badge or name tag, nor did he have a solicitor’s license on him when the resident asked.
One of the neighbors reported the man was very aggressive. The man told his neighbor he had to tell the suspect he had a firearm in the home and demand that he leave, according to the resident who reached out to St. George News.
Atkin said residents should be on the alert and never give out social security numbers or any other personal information to anyone that comes to the door, and if a situation appears suspicious, call the police department and report it.
Another incident reported Monday involved an individual selling hand sanitizer from a table set up between Costco and the Sportsman’s Warehouse near 850 East. Each of the “very small” bottles were priced at $10 each.
The incident was reported to police shortly thereafter, and when St. George News responded to the location the following day, the table was gone.
Even though there is no shortage of food or supplies in the U.S. at this time, a number of consumers are buying items faster than stores can restock them, which is leading to price gouging.
In Utah, though, hiking up prices to levels that aren’t reasonable is against state law.
According to a statement recently released by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, the penalty for hiking up those prices during an emergency situation is a $1,000 fine per incident under the Price Controls Under Emergencies Act.
“Unfortunately,” the AGs office said, residents across the beehive state are reporting price gouging on items that are in limited supply in stores, including toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula.
The scams also include those found online, through social media, text and by email, prompting the Department of Consumer Protection to issue a warning to consumers that scam artists are following the headlines and trying to take advantage of consumers during heightened attention to COVID-19.
The agency warns not to fall victim to clickbait by opening any email or text claiming to have news about coronavirus. Instead, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for accurate information and updates.
To report suspicious activity or price gouging, contact the local police department and/or the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601.
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