Offender: Antonio Meleek Smokes

First-Degree Burglary and Second-Degree Assault.

Date: 08/31/07

Magazine Sales Company: Urban Development Solutions

Location: Seattle, Washington

Click here to display mug shot of Antonio Meleek Smokes:

http://www.travelingsalescrews.info/images/smokes mug sept 2007.jpg

 

See Wanted Page For More Info On Antonio Smokes:

http://www.travelingsalescrews.info/wanted.html

 

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Seattle Police Department

http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/police

Sergeant Duffy

206-684-5550

Case # 07359809

Status: In Progress

Magazine Company Contact Info:

Urban Development Solutions

18530 Mack Avenue Suite 530

Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

(313) 878-6100

Website:

http://www.urbands.com

 

-----------------------------------------

 

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/330345_eastlake05.html

 

Last updated September 4, 2007 11:49 p.m. PT

 

Police seek man who choked woman in Eastlake home

By LEVI PULKKINEN

P-I REPORTER

 

Seattle police are searching for a door-to-door magazine salesman who, officers say, nearly strangled a woman Friday in her Eastlake area apartment.

 

According to police reports, the man, thought to be in his mid- to late 20s, has contacted other Eastlake residents, posing as a magazine salesman.

 

Police spokesman Jeff Kappel said he was not aware of any arrests in the case.

 

On Friday, officers were called to an apartment in the 2200 block of Franklin Avenue East, where a 26-year-old woman reported that a man had choked her until she lost consciousness.

 

The woman told police that she bought two magazine subscriptions from the man Wednesday after he came to her door. After making the sale, she told police, the man asked for her phone number, a request she declined.

 

About 12:30 p.m. Friday, the man returned to her apartment, claiming to have lost the sales paperwork. After being let in, the woman told police, he asked to use her bathroom.

 

Returning from the bathroom, the man walked directly at her and said, "I'm sorry," before grabbing her around the neck in a choke hold, according to police reports. The man tightened his grip until the woman -- believing she was going to die -- fell unconscious.

 

When she awoke about 20 minutes later, she found herself in the bathtub with various injuries.

 

Investigators spoke with several neighbors who reported seeing the salesman earlier in the week.

 

One told investigators that the salesman had approached her apartment and asked whether her boyfriend was home.

 

P-I reporter Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or levipulkkinen@seattlepi.com.

 

 

http://www.komotv.com/news/local/9582832.html

 

Woman attacked in home by man posing as magazine salesman

YouNewsTV

Story Published: Sep 4, 2007 at 11:32 PM PDT

 

Story Updated: Sep 5, 2007 at 11:34 PM PDT

 

By Seattle P-I

 

Watch the story

SEATTLE -- Police here are searching for a door-to-door magazine salesman who, officers say, nearly strangled a woman to death Friday in her Eastlake area apartment.

 

According to police reports, the man, thought to be in his middle to late 20s, has contacted other Eastlake residents, posing as a magazine salesman.

 

Calling the investigation "open and active," police spokesman Jeff Kappel said he was not aware of any arrests made in the case.

 

On Friday, officers were called to an apartment in the 2200 block of Franklin Avenue East, where a 26-year-old woman reported that a the man had strangled choked her until she lost consciousness.

 

The woman told police that she purchased two magazine subscriptions from the man Wednesday after he came to her door. After making the sale, she told police, the man asked for her phone number, a request she declined.

 

About 12:30 p.m. Friday, the man returned to her apartment, claiming to have lost the sales paperwork. After being let in, the woman told police, he asked to use her bathroom.

 

Returning from the bathroom, the man walked directly at her then said, "I'm sorry," before grabbing her around the neck in a chock choke hold, according to police reports.

 

The man tightened his grip around her neck until the woman - believing she was going to die - fell unconscious. When she awoke about 20 minutes later, she found herself in the bathtub with various injuries.

 

Finding her cell phone missing, police said she left her apartment and yelled for help.

 

Investigators spoke with several neighbors who reported also seeing the salesman in the area earlier in the week.

 

One told investigators that the salesman had approached her apartment and asked whether her boyfriend was home.

 

 

KOMO-TV140 Fourth Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109

Main Phone (206) 404-4000   News Desk (206) 404-4145   Sales (206) 404-4391

 

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http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_090507WAB_eastlake_salesman_attack_TP.a5ede768.html

 

Salesman attacks Seattle woman in her apartment

 

05:52 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 5, 2007

 

By GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

 

Neighbors along the tree-lined streets of Eastlake say they aren't accustomed to violence. SEATTLE -- Police are searching for a door-to-door magazine salesman who attacked a customer, nearly strangling the 27-year-old woman in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood.

 

It happened last Friday afternoon at an apartment in the 2200 block of Franklin Avenue East.

 

People who live on the narrow, tree lined streets of Eastlake are used to an occasional late night party but not much violence.

 

"Well I was shocked, I mean it was a shame," said Alex Calderon. "I've lived in this neighborhood for many, many years and nothing like this has ever happened around here."

 

The police report describes a viscous attack by the same man who was possibly seen by many neighbors going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions.

 

"The victim told police she actually bought two subscriptions from the suspect, but she refused to let him come in the house when he asked to use the restroom," said Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

 

Police say that was the right move.

 

"If something doesn't feel right, and we all get those feelings, do the prudent thing. Don't open the door, don't invite him," said Jamieson.

 

But the man came back two days later, saying he'd lost the paperwork and asked to come in and fill out new forms.  This time, she let him in.  It was while he was in there, she tells police, that he said "I'm sorry," then grabbed the woman by the throat until she passed out.

 

The Police report says the victim awoke in bathtub and called for help.  She will be OK, but police now have what they feel is a very dangerous suspect on the loose, who first apologizes then attacks for no apparent reason.

 

The suspect is described as a light-skinned African American man, 5-feet 11-inches tall, 190 pounds.  He's in his 20's and bald.

 

 

http://www.komotv.com/news/local/9658332.html

 

 

Police: Phony magazine salesman who attacked woman may be on the run

YouNewsTV

Story Published: Sep 7, 2007 at 10:28 PM PDT

 

Story Updated: Sep 7, 2007 at 10:34 PM PDT

 

By KOMO Staff

 

SEATTLE -- Police are on the hunt for Antonio M. Smokes, the man accused of posing as a door-to-door magazine salesman and nearly strangling a woman to death in her Eastlake area apartment last week.

 

Police said Smokes, 25, is also wanted for theft of the victim's laptop and phone.

 

On Aug. 31, officers were called to an apartment in the 2200 block of Franklin Avenue East, where a 26-year-old woman reported that a the man had strangled choked her until she lost consciousness.

 

The woman told police that she purchased two magazine subscriptions from the man Wednesday after he came to her door. After making the sale, she told police, the man asked for her phone number, a request she declined.

 

About 12:30 p.m. on the same day, the man returned to her apartment, claiming to have lost the sales paperwork. After being let in, the woman told police, he asked to use her bathroom.

 

Returning from the bathroom, the man walked directly at her then said, "I'm sorry," before grabbing her around the neck in a chock choke hold, according to police reports.

 

The man tightened his grip around her neck until the woman - believing she was going to die - fell unconscious. When she awoke about 20 minutes later, she found herself in the bathtub with various injuries.

 

Finding her cell phone missing, police said she left her apartment and yelled for help.

 

Investigators spoke with several neighbors who reported also seeing the salesman in the area earlier in the week.

 

One told investigators that the salesman had approached her apartment and asked whether her boyfriend was home.

 

Police believe Smokes may be headed east from the Seattle area, possibly to Florida.

 

Smokes is said to be 5'10'' tall and weigh approximately 175 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911 or contact Seattle police.

 

 ----------------------------------------------------

 

http://www.nwcn.com/statenews/washington/stories/NW_090707WAB_smokes_KC.b15f1853.html#

 

Seattle Police looking for strangulation suspect

 

09:50 PM PDT on Friday, September 7, 2007

KING5.com

SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating Antonio M. Smokes.

 

Seattle Police Dept.

 

Antonio M. Smokes

Smokes is a suspect in the recent “magazine salesman” strangulation assault of a woman in the Eastlake area on August 31.

 

He is also wanted for theft of the victim’s laptop and phone.

 

Police believe that Smokes was heading east from the Seattle area, possibly toward Florida.

 

He is described as a black male, 25 years old, 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds.

 

Anyone who may know of his whereabouts should call Seattle Police by calling 911 immediately and not attempt to contact him.

 

 

http://www.kirotv.com/news/14066110/detail.html

Woman Choked By Man Selling Magazines

 

POSTED: 8:15 am PDT September 7, 2007

UPDATED: 8:47 am PDT September 7, 2007

 

 

SEATTLE -- Seattle police said they plan to release a sketch of a man they said choked a Seattle woman in her apartment after she bought magazines from him.

 

According to police reports, a man posing as a magazine salesman assaulted and choked a 27-year-old woman after she invited him inside her Eastlake apartment last Friday.

 

"The salesman followed her into the bathroom and proceeded to assault her and strangled her until she was unconscious," said Jeff Kappel of the Seattle Police Department.

 

A half hour after the attack, the victim made it outside, where a neighbor called 911, police said.

 

Several neighbors told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News they saw the man in the area before the attack.

 

"He was friendly and kind of strange when he came to the door," said Sam Douglas.

 

Neighbors put up "no soliciting" signs at the apartment complex where the attack happened.

 

The victim said the man told her his name is Antonio and that he recently moved from Philadelphia.

 

 

http://q13.trb.com/news/kcpq-090807-sales,0,4429496.story

 

'Magazine Salesman' Returned To Scene Of The Crime

Darren Dedo, Q13 Fox News Reporter,

 

September 8, 2007

 

A West Seattle couple says the magazine salesman accused of trying to kill an Eastlake woman in her apartment on August 31st, showed up on their front door step four days later.

 

Eddie Allen and his girlfriend Catherine Vespa said they realized it was the same man after watching Q13 Fox News that night. "I was watching the news and I saw this girl got attacked in Eastlake, the guy who came to my door, fit the description to a T," said Allen.

 

Allen's suspicions were confirmed, after he reviewed video from his home surveillance camera system. Allen says it captured Smokes on tape trying to sell the couple magazines on Tuesday afternoon.

 

Allen says he took the video to police in hopes of helping them catch Smokes before he hurt someone else. "My main motivation was, I don't want this guy to go our or really hurt or kill somebody. Especially, if I have his pictures and they can identify him," said Allen.

 

Allen's girlfriend Catherine Vespa says this run in with Antonio Smokes has changed her outlook on magazine salesman forever. "Generally, in the past I've let them come inside, but, now definitely after this incident I certainly will never allow anybody in again," said Vespa.

 

Antonio Smokes is a 25 year old African American man. He is 5'10'' and weighs 175 pounds. Police say he also goes by the name Tony. Investigators say Smokes is dangerous, if you see him call 911 right away.

 

 

http://www.kptv.com/news/14102403/detail.html#

 

Magazine Salesman Arrested In Gresham

 

POSTED: 5:58 pm PDT September 12, 2007

UPDATED: 6:07 pm PDT September 12, 2007

 

 

GRESHAM, Ore. -- A magazine salesman accused of attacking a woman in Seattle has been arrested in Gresham.

 

Police arrested Antonio Smokes, 25, on Tuesday at a motel as he was preparing to leave in a van, according to the Northwest Fugitive Apprehension Task Force. He was jailed for extradition to Seattle.

 

King County (Wash.) prosecutors filed burglary and assault charges Wednesday against Smokes.

 

Court papers said he was identified through a phone number he gave to the victim Aug. 29 when he first contacted her at an apartment. She purchased two subscriptions and the salesman returned two days later, saying he lost the paperwork and needed to fill out the order again, according to court documents.

 

 

After she let him in, she was choked until she lost consciousness, court papers say. A cell phone and laptop computer were stolen, authorities said.

 

Police in Gainesville, Fla., said Smokes had been released just last month from prison after serving nearly two years for an armed robbery in which he entered a home while selling magazine subscriptions and demanded money at knifepoint.

 

 

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/331819_magazine15.html

 

Last updated September 14, 2007 9:59 p.m. PT

 

Story of salesman sparks fears

By PHUONG CAT LE

P-I REPORTER

 

Seattle Post Intelligencer

 

The door-to-door magazine salesman accused of attacking an Eastlake woman after selling her two subscriptions apparently tried to solicit other residents before he left the state.

 

His arrest earlier this week raised alarm among Seattle residents who recall seeing him and have reported concerns about other aggressive, even hostile, magazine salespeople.

 

What should you do to protect yourself from scams and aggressive salespeople?

 

"You certainly do not have to open the door to anyone you don't feel comfortable with," said Mark Jamieson, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department. "If something doesn't seem right, you should trust your instincts. If something is suspicious, call 911."

 

In the past few weeks, Carrie, a Montlake resident who did not give her last name, said she had three different sales pitches from magazine hawkers. Two were so aggressive that she worried they'd come back and do harm.

 

One "would not leave and would not take no for an answer, so I had to ask him to leave my property," she said. "He was quite aggressive, which made me worry a bit that he would come back and seek some sort of revenge."

 

She said a second saleswoman kicked her front door and ran down the street when she threatened to call police.

 

Earlier this week authorities arrested Antonio Smokes, 25, in a Gresham, Ore., hotel and charged him with first-degree burglary and second-degree assault of a 27-year-old woman.

 

After selling the woman two magazine subscriptions Aug. 29, police say Smokes returned to her Eastlake apartment two days later, claiming he lost the paperwork. Not long after she let him inside, he grabbed the woman by the neck, choking her until she temporarily lost consciousness, police said.

 

Smokes was selling magazines for Urban Development Solutions, based in Gross Pointe Farm, Mich., Jamieson said.

 

The company cooperated with police and helped find Smokes, whom police arrested as he was getting into a van to sell more magazines, said Tom Lanier, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's Service.

 

Door-to-door salespeople are required by Seattle law to get a "residential seller's license" and wear a photo ID when they solicit homes. But the city issues only three to five such licenses each year.

 

The law exempts a number of people, including those who sell products to be delivered at "a future time from a place outside of state." This means most door-to-door magazine salespeople don't have to get a seller's license.

 

Denise Movius, director of the city's Revenue & Consumer Affairs Division, said her agency has been considering whether to change the rules.

 

"We've been looking at it for the past couple of years," she said. "This (case) has raised it to the surface again."

 

Earlene Williams, executive director of Parent Watch, wants criminal background checks on all door-to-door salespeople as a way to protect both consumers and the youths who join these traveling magazine sales crews.

 

"The kids are just as much at risk for harm as the homeowner," said Williams, whose national group is a clearinghouse for information on child and youth labor abuse in the door-to-door sales industry.

 

Smokes was recently released from a Florida prison after serving two years for armed robbery.

 

He has a criminal history in Utah and Pennsylvania, including assault, robbery and eluding police charges, according to court papers.

 

Seattle police called out to private residences have arrested some door-to-door salespeople for aggressive behavior, threats, assaults and outstanding warrants.

 

Homeowners shouldn't panic and be afraid of everyone who comes to their door, but Williams advises trying not to be too open and hospitable.

 

"Don't let anyone in," she said. "If you want to buy a subscription, conduct your business with them out on the porch."

 

Earlier this year, the local Better Business Bureau warned consumers about door-to-door salespeople who posed as high school cheerleaders and basketball players. Portland police arrested four teens in that case.

 

"Get something in writing that states who they are and what they represent," said Marcella Kallmann, a spokeswoman for the BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "Don't feel pressured to hand over money right then and there. And especially never hand over cash."

 

DOOR STOPS

Consider posting a sign that says "No solicitors," "No peddlers" or "No agents." In Seattle, residential sellers must abide by these signs.

 

Acknowledge the knock, since ignoring it might lead to an attempted burglary.

 

Before opening the door, look for proper identification. Legitimate company representatives will have it.

 

Use good judgment: It's safer not to allow the person into your home.

Avoid paying immediately. Find out from the seller how to order directly from the company.

 

Don't give in to high-pressure tactics. Don't be afraid to say no.

 

Get the name of the company or organization the person claims to represent and check it out.

 

Federal Trade Commission rules allow you a refund period of three business days on door-to-door sales of more than $25. In addition, a state law allows you to cancel a contract within three days in which payments are made in installments, such as the sales of magazine subscriptions or vacuum cleaners, the Attorney General's Office says.

 

Sources: Seattle Police Department; the Better Business Bureau of Western Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

 

P-I reporter Phuong Cat Le can be reached at 206-448-8390 or phuongle@seattlepi.com.

 

http://www.pacificpublishingcompany.com/site/tab3.cfm?newsid=18834258&BRD=855&PAG=461&dept_id=515262&rfi=6

 

 

Fear and loathing dogs magazine salesmen

By Russ Zabel

09/19/2007

 

The magazine salesman who allegedly choked an Eastlake woman till she was unconscious, then stole her phone and laptop computer on Aug. 31 is in jail. He was arrested Sept. 12 in Oregon with a crew of magazine-subscription salesmen working for Michigan-based Urban Development Solutions.

 

 

It's not the first time the 25-year-old salesman has been in trouble with the law. He had recently gotten out of jail in Florida after spending a two-year stint for an armed robbery he pulled off while selling magazine subscriptions, according to published reports.

 

Urban Development Solutions officials cooperated with police in the case, according to Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson, and an Internet search turned up no record of legal problems with salesmen from the company.

 

But Urban Development wasn't the only subscription company with sales crews in Seattle recently, according to numerous Seattle police reports. Most of the reports do not list a company the troublesome, high-pressure salesmen work for, but one report from Queen Anne about the arrest of two magazine-subscription salesmen identifies Indiana-based D&T Connections as their company.

 

D&T has no history of complaints, according to the Indiana Better Business Bureau. However, D&T Connections is one of 11 companies listed under American Community Services Inc., and American Community Services does have a poor record with its salesmen, according to the Indiana BBB and press accounts.

 

Among the offenses, one of their salesmen was jailed in 2004 after trying to sexually assault an 80-year-old woman in Menlo Park, Calif., and a 76-year-old retired beautician was stabbed to death in 1990 in a Boston suburb by another company salesman who had a prior rape conviction, according to press accounts.

 

A call placed to D&T vice president Tekeba Swift last week was not returned by press deadline this week, but the Indiana BBB had a lot to say about American Community Services.

 

For one thing, the company is no longer in business, according to BBB records, which also note the company generated almost 50 complaints in the past three years, 25 of those within the past 12 months.

 

According to BBB records, one complaint was about customer-service issues, two were about contract issues, nine were about sales practices, 11 were for refund or exchange issues, and 26 complaints concerned delivery issues. The BBB record also indicates American Community Services did not respond to those complaints.

 

But judging from Seattle police reports, it might just be a matter of time before a complaint file is generated for D&T. A Sept. 6 report indicates that complaints increased recently about subscription salesmen in Queen Anne.

 

The salesmen, who wear dark pants, dress shirts and ties, are verbally hostile to customers, and they return several times each day, according to the report, which notes the men have been spotted at the sides of houses and in back yards.

 

One victim told police he looked out through the mail slot when a salesman showed up at his front door, and he asked the salesman what he wanted a couple of times. The salesman didn't reply and just stood there with a scowl on his face, according to the police report.

 

One of the D&T salesmen approached another house in the neighborhood, and he didn't say anything when the teenage daughter of the woman who lives there asked what he wanted. At one point, though, he yelled at the girl to let him in, and he also started flirting with the girl, according to the report.

 

There were other incidents in the area, and a common theme was that it took the victims asking several times for the pushy salesmen to leave before they finally did. Police caught the pair on Upper Queen Anne Hill, and they were arrested and booked for harassment, trespassing and not having a city business license.

 

Several residents in the Madison Park area also complained to police Sept. 7 and 8 about door-to-door salesmen in dark slacks, dress shirt and ties.

 

Elsewhere, a woman in Sandpoint had an encounter with a subscription salesman on Sept. 7. The man matched the description of the Eastlake assault suspect and said he was from Florida, as the assault suspect also said he was.

 

The salesman raised the woman's suspicions when he asked her who was home, asked about her dog and requested a drink of water, according to the report. Still, the woman gave the man a check for $80 for a subscription and noticed only later that the receipt had only his signature on it; there was no contact or company information.

 

Only the two men operating in Queen Anne and the Eastlake assault suspect were arrested, but police urge that Seattle residents use caution when approached by a door-to-door salesman.

 

Among the suggestions, look for proper identification that includes the seller's name, photo and the name of the company the seller works for before opening the door.

 

Also, if the salesman refuses a request to leave or asks to use the bathroom, make a phone call or to get a drink of water, again tell the person to leave. Police should be called if the resident feels intimidated, pressured or threatened at any time.

 

Finally, police recommend residents not give in to high-pressure sales tactics - and never be afraid to say "NO!!"

 

Staff reporter Russ Zabel may be reached via rzabel@nwlink.com.