Raleigh roommates warn of odd doorstep encounter with strangers

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, September 27, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two Raleigh roommates are warning others in their neighborhood after a man and woman showed up at their apartment door unannounced earlier this week, claiming to raise donations for a hospital.

"They originally said they were there for meeting people in the neighborhood," explained Sydney Hardee, a Meredith College junior and one of four people who live in an apartment at The Republic at Raleigh.

Hardee said it began when the pair showed up at their door around 2 p.m. Monday. Noting they have many friends in the complex who routinely pop in, she said it's not out of the ordinary to receive a surprise drop-in. However, Hardee said the appearance of the man and woman did not seem to fit within the majority of the complex, adding the pair quickly changed their reason for showing up.

"But then they switched it to where, 'hey, we're so and so from the local hospital, trying to raise money and get books donated to us,'" recalled Hardee.

The pair handed them a flier, which assigned point values to books that would be donated. They told Hardee and one of her roommates, Delaney Barry, that if they got a certain number of points, they would receive a free trip to Italy. During the conversation, Hardee and Barry say the pair never identified the local hospital that they were raising funds for.

"Sydney asked if there was a website that we could go to so we could buy the books online, and not do it through them. And they told them that everything is based off first impression, and there's no website that we could go to, there's no one we could contact. So that just made us kind of uncomfortable," Barry said.

Hardee and Barry became more concerned when the conversation appeared to shift from donated books to personal questions.

"They asked a lot of questions about my dog. They wanted to know if she was nice, whether she was mean. Like if she would bite, how she reacts to people. It was just a lot of questions that didn't make any sense for what they were selling," Barry said.

The conversation lasted about 10 minutes before the pair left. Before they departed, they said they would put a sticker on their door, to note they had been there and other solicitors should not stop by.

After closing the door, Hardee and Barry both agreed something was off about the conversation and reported the matter to complex management and Raleigh Police.

The women then saw the pair go to other homes in the complex and knock on doors, before eventually leaving.

They said Raleigh Police were unable to locate the individuals, though an officer provided a card and contact number.

Hardee posted about the incident on Facebook and Twitter in an effort to alert others and was surprised by the response.

"She also contacted other girls in the neighborhood, asking things like 'can I use your restroom? Can I have water?' So we weren't the only people she asked that. And I think it's because they wanted to see what was inside of our homes," Hardee said.

A Raleigh Police spokesperson said they do not have an incident report related to the encounter, and could not provide any further information.