WICKER PARK — Two door-to-door sales reps who were trying to get residents of an apartment building to switch their energy supplier from ComEd to an alternative provider were arrested for trespassing on Monday, police said.
Around 6 p.m. Monday, a resident of the 62-unit building in the 1500 block of North Wicker Park Avenue said he opened his door to find a woman outside his unit.
"I opened the door slightly," the resident said. "A lady was standing there. She made it sound like she was from ComEd and said that she needed to see my electric bill."
"I said, 'No, you are not going to see my electric bill. You don't belong here. You are trespassing. And then, there was a guy standing behind her. I told them both to leave. Then she kept on. I told them I was calling 911 and slammed the door," he said.
But before the man could call 911, he got a call from a neighbor who lives on the first floor, who told him that he had just called 911.
Romello Strong, 21, of the 1000 block of South LaSalle Street and Joseph Monroe, 21, of the 400 block of East 89th Place, were both arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, according to Officer Ana Pacheco, a Chicago Police spokeswoman. Two other solicitors in the building avoided arrest.
Additionally, Strong and Monroe were charged with not having a peddler license, Pacheco said.
Another resident said he had heard "banging and banging" on his neighbor's door, to the point where he had to come out of his own apartment to see what the commotion was.
"They were relentless when any tenant suggested that they were trespassing. They said 'we are just doing our job.' They were being dishonest about who they represented," the tenant said.
No one has been able to confirm who the men work for because they did not tell residents the name. Pacheco said the report does not state the employer of the men arrested.
The building has a no soliciting sign on its front window and is secured by an intercom or digital key.
"They claimed not to see the no soliciting sign, but they were in a secure building and were devious and must have slid in behind someone," a resident said.
According to the resident, Monday was the third time in recent weeks that solicitors seeking to get energy bill suppliers changed have visited the building.
"The first time they said, 'I am with the city; I'm here to make sure you got your rebate, it's a $250 rebate and we are following up on behalf of the city to make sure you got it," the resident said.
Strong was previously arrested in January for not having a peddler license and was released from Cook County jail after posting a $120 bond, county records show.
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