Persistent Animal Cracker Sellers Draw Questions

by ARLnow.com July 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm 7,696 72 Comments

They don’t exactly look like hardened criminals, but some are questioning the persistence of groups of kids who have been selling animal crackers along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

A young animal cracker seller near Market Common Clarendon prompted a citizen to call police this afternoon – apparently out of concern for the child’s welfare – and others, in Rosslyn, prompted a post in our forums.

“For the past few weeks in Rosslyn, I keep seeing kids approaching people on the street and at the outdoor spaces of Cosi/Starbucks, etc. asking them to buy animal cookies for some charity,” the poster wrote. “This seemed suspicious to me as A. there are never any kids in Rosslyn and B. they seem to be cornering people.”

No word on which charity the kids may or may not be working on behalf of.

Photo via Wikipedia

  • Animal Cracker Breeder

    Little known fact

  • ArlForester

    Prolly Gypsies……

  • Southeast Jerome

    I’ve seen these future Crime Report stars on K Street downtown.

    I had the same thought and usually just pretend I dont speak english when they talk to me.

  • CW

    Happens all the time in downtown DC. Kids trying to sell stuff, parent sitting a few feet away acting as though people won’t realize that they’re affiliated. Usually referencing a nebulous, nonsubstantiated cause for their sales.

  • BerryBerryCold
  • NoVapologist

    I remember the good old days when we worried about kids in Arlington pushing dime bags and 20-rocks,

    • Aaron

      I’ve seen news stories before that claim that the candy (now cracker I guess) pushers are in fact often affiliated with drug dealers and other criminal networks, either because it’s a simple scam that brings in easy, tax-free earnings at minimal expense or because it lets the evaluate the future “talent” as it were. It’s almost like a Junior Achievement alternative for inner city youth.

  • puggy
    • BoredHouseWife

      quote from the article..”soft-arm robbery.”

      Whatever happened to just saying no.

  • Rick

    Two words are all that are necessary. Beat it.

  • Ted williams

    Race of the “kids” (perps)?

  • charlie

    riding the 38B thru Clarendon on Sunday.
    somewhat disheveled middle-aged white guy gets on at Garfield Street. Three very young black kids follow him to the bus. He turns and yells at them very loudly and offensively and uses the “N” word. All of a sudden two black males in their 30’s/40’s appear out of nowhere to assist the kids. bus driver chides man, he stops, grumbles his way to the back of the bus. we motor on.
    it was clear these kids were scamming and supervision was one racial slur away.

    • charlie

      oh yea, of course they were selling these cookies. saw couple boxes each.

    • Ted williams

      Uh huh. That answers the race question. Thanks Charlie.

  • Chris Wiz

    Who buys animal crackers without the pink icing anyway?

    • Arrrrlington

      +1 (with icing)

    • Kat


      • no – prefer the original dry ones. Great with coffee or orange juice.

  • Bard

    believe it or not, but a lot of scams like this are run by companies out-of-state that hire groups of kids and send them around the country, putting them up in budget motels and having them go door to door selling things like candy or magazine subscriptions. they usually have some sort of sales pitch involving a boys club or youth basketball team. the companies take most of the profits, and the kids mainly just do it so they can go around to different towns and party.

    i know this because i represented a guy who worked for one of these companies. he was arrested for soliciting door to door without a permit. he also solicits in public areas, though. wherever the people are.

  • CW

    Saw some of this going on just this evening at Clarendon and Highland. A couple kids and some apparently supervisory adults. I will withhold a description. Appeared to have some literature to support some sort of cause they were theoretically selling for but it looked like a poorly-run scam to me, as per the descriptions above.

    • Ted williams

      Why withhold?

      • KalashniKEV

        Because they weren’t white. 😉

        • Aaron

          Impersonating a media professional, tsk tsk.

  • Skeptical

    I had to deal with a quite abusive individual who appeared at my door and would not take one dismissal as final. He actually would not leave until I threatened him with police, whom I called anyway. The officer told me that every spring they have to deal with these people. This guy had an ID badge on a lanyard that connected him with some group called “Entrepeneur Sales,” and when I Googled that phrase, the site that came up was absolutely opaque — you couldn’t tell what the hell they were supposedly marketing.

    This has been going on forever. I remember kids hawking peanut brittle back when I was a junior high schooler in North Arlington and you don’t want to know how long ago that was.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I haven’t had any of these characters at my door this year…..yet, and I haven’t yet run into any outside any of the grocery stores where I shop. But I’ve had them come to my door in the past, usually selling magazine subscriptions for some “cause” or “young person’s organization” that I’ve never heard of. One young lady a couple of years ago apparently did not like my firm but polite refusal, the next day when I went to my car to leave for work, there was a nail in my tire. Contributing to charities and worthy causes is fine, but I won’t give one dime to some outfit I’ve never heard of. Too many scams and con artists out there use these kids to manipulate people, to make people feel “guilty” so they’ll “contribute”, etc. Trying to manipulate me or make me feel “guilty” is a guaranteed way to ensure they won’t get one dime from me. There are plenty of legitimate charities out there that do wonderful work and genuinely help those in need. Send your greenbacks to those organizations.

    • Jackflops

      It’s a bad idea to ever answer the door if you weren’t expecting visitors. This I get directly from the ACPD (among others). Anyone who knocks out of the blue is at best inconsiderate and at worst dangerous. This isn’t 1950. The Fuller Brush Man is gone.

  • Arrrrlington

    1. Does anyone know if the crackers are legit? Did they go to Giant and buy a bunch and are just selling them.
    2. How much are they?
    3. What’s the money used for?

    If they are selling legit crackers and the money is just going to their pockets I don’t see it as being that much of a problem. Yeah yeah. Technically not legal to resell things or sell without a permit and all, but no worse than a lemonade stand to help starving kids. What starving kids? The kids selling the lemonade. They want to go to McDonalds?

    Are these the kids with the tupperware containers? I see them chasing after people on the streets, but it’s always on the open sidewalks so they aren’t able to corner anyone and people just ignore them. They look kind of young to be be crack addicts.

    • Meh..

      It’s really NOT a problem….other than the fact that folks don’t like to see young black kids in their “exclusive” neighborhoods…
      I’m sure this wouldn’t even be an issue if it weren’t for the color of the young peoples’ skin….

      • Southeast Ben

        I’m pretty sure race has nothing to do with most of it seeing as most people living in the “exclusive” neighborhoods you speak of are highly educated and can see beyond skin color. Also, the ones who sell these crackers are often rude, pushy, and annoying having been solicited to buy by these types before.

        • KalashniKEV

          +1000 As stated above, “Future Crime Report All Stars.”

          I love the white guilt though… the fear when it comes to any kind of description of the perps. This is the same mentality that wants to promote economic “diversity” so they can feel better about themselves seeing a poor person struggle to make it in their hood- and then enjoys a double ego boost when they can then subsidize that person’s failures, either by stealing a bit from everyone and handing it right over or giving them an extra ten strikes at bat for being a part of a protected class.

          The Race Card dealers are the Racists themselves.

          • doodly

            Hey, KEV, if someone plays the race card, that’s not your excuse to pick it up and put in in your own hand.

          • KalashniKEV

            When someone throws the race card? I just laugh and laugh…

            We live in the post-racial era. It’s all about ideas now (and it fact it always was).

          • doodly

            No, you pick it up and throw it all over the room, and then complain about it.

          • Meh..

            Race card? lol.
            By default, the race card was already played the minute this article hit cyberspace. The fact that everyone wanted to dance around the elephant in the room speaks volumes.
            Anyone that wants to deny that race has almost everything to do with this being an “issue” is seriously sipping on the “post racial America” Kool-Aid….

          • KalashniKEV

            Agree with you on the elephant in the room, but I firmly believe that if a bunch of white redneck, carnie-looking, drifter kids were accosting people on the sidewalk it would be just as big an issue. It’s about social class.

            When something doesn’t look right, it usually isn’t.

          • Meh..

            I’ll concede that…but in this case it wasn’t.

          • doodly

            Yet you were so sure the kids weren’t white.

          • Meh..

            I don’t understand what doesn’t look right about it? It’s young people trying to make money by selling something. I don’t see anything suspect or detrimental to society about it at all. Hence my belief that the only problem people seem to have is based on their race.

            I didn’t see an article about the Planned Parenthood solicitors that were rampant throughout Clarendon & Ballston about two weeks ago?

            I haven’t seen an article about the door to door solicitors that seem to pop up every season asking for donations to “Save the Bay”.

            I don’t see anyone expressing outrage over the food trucks that take up public parking spaces to hawk their tasty goods….

          • Sean

            @Meh: I have not dealt with the folks hanging out at the Metro, but I had a young man that came to my door a couple of years ago with a similar type of situation. He claimed to be from some organization that I had never heard of. When I politely declined, he pointed out that he could be on the streets robbing people. That may or may not have been a veiled threat, but either way it was a strange point to make if he were legitimate.

            From there, he became increasingly hostile and aggressive in his sales tactics. He started to curse at me in a threatening way and made it clear that he was not leaving. He also made it clear that the only reason I was not giving him money was because I must be a bigot. He finally left and went to my African American neighbor and told him how much of a bigoted a-hole I was. My neighbor politely but firmly corrected his false belief about my supposed bigotry.

            I’m a white guy. My wife is Korean. My daughters are half Korean. I live in a 80% African American neighborhood. I send my daughters to a Spanish immersion preschool run by folks who are of Latino ethnicity. Calling me a bigot is silly. I don’t understand why you’ve assumed that race is the issue here. The issue is that these folks are very aggressive panhandlers and there is reason to believe that they are associated with criminal organizations. Unless these other organizations that you mentioned were aggressively pursuing people, I don’t understand how you can equate this situation with those.

            When someone who is white expresses concerns about someone who is black, why are folks so quick to assume that the white person is a racist? Many times the concerns are legit and have nothing to do with race. When people are so quick to throw out the race card communication just shuts down. And we’ll never solve our problems if we can’t talk about them.

      • +1

      • charlie

        meh, i take exception to this point.
        I don’t like being hassled on the street by ANYONE — hawking good or political ideology.
        Just like the CUPCAKE stores that are there, if I want to go in, I go in. If I want to by cookies from someone on the street, I will. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED.
        Same with my house. we have a huge problem in our palatial 22207 of being constantly bombarded with door to door people. If you knock on my front door, and I’m not expecting you, I know you are a solicitor and I don’t answer. Everyone knows to knock on my back door (lob) and just come in.
        I put Girl Scouts selling cookies at Giant right up there with the Salvation Army and their incessant ringing of the bells and the Change The Government Petition people I should be able to go to the store, for a walk and not be bothered by ANYONE.
        If you DO bother me, you should NOT expect me to be nice since you already are bothering me.
        and it doesn’t matter what the cause, issue, color, size or sexual ethnicity.

        • Aaron

          Those evil Girl Scouts AND Salvation Army, passively standing there, saying hi in a cheerful voice, ringing bells? Bah, humbug!!

          Can we come for a swim in your money bin sometime?

          • KalashniKEV

            Yes, but you have to go to his back door, or else he will think you’re a solicitor.

          • bb

            Only if you knock on his back door. Don’t bother putting on your swim trunks if you have the audacity to knock on the front door.

          • charlie

            i’m sorry. i find the girl scouts and their over priced cookies very annoying. and i don’t agree with the non-religious religious bent of the salvation army.

          • doodly

            “non-religious religious bent”?

          • KalashniKEV

            Their bells are calibrated to convey brain washing signals… that bend you over for the religious.

        • Howlin’ Wolf

          I’ve always been a back-door man myself. LOL.

          • doodly

            Shouldn’t you say “HOL”?

      • Jackflops

        Yeah, wrong. I live in an “exclusive” neighborhood–and some of the kids who live nearby are themselves black. It has nothing to do with race. Soliciting door-to-door in 2011 is sketchy behavior. Period.

        ACPD says that when they respond to calls about this, they often find that some of the solicitors and/or their associates are wanted for out-of-state crimes.

        • Meh..

          The youth being discussed in the article are not soliciting door to door.

  • Anthony

    It’s a scam.

  • Tom

    Yesterday I left work at 2 pm to meet my brother, who was in town on a travel layover. When I got on the Metro at Foggy Bottom, there were two kids (boy and girl) accompanied by a young man. The kids each had a plastic crate full of animal crackers. There was the usual byplay between the two kids, as though they were friends, or a brother and sister. The young adult seemed to be in charge, The three of them got off at the Clarendon shop, probably to start selling on the Plaza.

  • Yup

    These two and the young man – in his early 20s – where at Federal Triangle yesterday at 2:15 and caught an Orange Line to VA.

  • FW

    Must be part of the Obama stimulus plan.

    • Yup

      Maybe these crackers would be a nice accompaniment during the Tea Party when the US defaults on their payments and Bonehead and Canker find themselves tarred and feathered like John Malcolm.

  • KalashniKEV

    I’m pretty surprised that with all the nonsense Arlington gives it’s small businesses (signs, murals, noise) that they don’t have a Peddler’s License… and that we haven’t criminalized Vagrancy yet.

    • Eagle

      I believe vagrancy was criminal back in Victorian times. Fortunately, we’ve since learned that punishing people for being unfortunate doesn’t make much sense.

    • CW

      Or at least panhandling. I’ve lived in places where panhandling was criminalized, and it certainly had an effect.

      • JamesE

        they need to install those meters that go specifically to some homeless charity and not straight to a 7-11 for a 40 of Hurricane.

      • KalashniKEV

        This county will have to do something soon. The Bum Invasion will worsen and worsen until every corner is flooded with loitering vagabonds.

        The word is out among them that Arlington is the spot for organized public welfare. There is also a pretty large segment of the local population that eases some guilt they have, perhaps over success they feel is unearned, by enabling them through handouts.

        It’s a problem.

        • Josh S

          You sound like a Republican congressman.

          Doom and gloom!
          Hell in a handbasket!
          Fire and brimstone!
          Poor people will be the death of us all!!
          Better cut taxes some more!!!

        • doodly

          Send them away on boxcars, KEV.

          • FW

            Not until we repair our national infrastructure.

          • CW

            That comment is offensive to hoboes.


          • doodly

            I wasn’t referring to hobos, rather to another period in history in which undesirables were taken care of by being sent off in trains.

          • Josh S

            Yes, I think that was clear.

    • Aaron

      We solved our nation’s health care problems by making it a crime to not buy health insurance, so it would seem that a ban on begging would work just as well.

  • People

    these kids are exploited by this scam. The adults are usually criminals.

    next time you see this going on, call the cops. eventually they will give up if no one falls for the scam.

    agree–dont answer the door if someone knocks unexpected.

  • nota gain

    More money for the DC budgets. Grey needs it unless the taxi drivers hit on customers for the animal cookies too.

  • YTK

    So this kind of stuff has been going on for years — these kids are SCAMMERS — but no one does anything about it.


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