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Social media child abduction reports have no merit, say police

It’s spreading like wildfire on the internet... reports that attempts have been made to abduct children from their homes.

Police in this area have investigated multiple reports of door-to-door salespeople asking inappropriate questions about children, but have found no threat to the public.

Grandview police stopped a vehicle full of college age youth selling religious-type books. According to Assistant Chief Kal Fuller, police ran checks on all occupants of the vehicle and they all came back clear.

Grandview also has issued an itinerate merchant’s license to a young female with a Russian visa to sell children’s books, literature and DVDs, but it is unknown if she has any link with any other group.

Fuller said Benton County Sheriff deputies also received a report of a suspicious person asking about children in a home. The investigating deputies reported that the person was a salesperson with books aimed at a young audience.

A dispatcher for the Yakima County Sheriff’s office confirmed that deputies have been receiving the same reports in the county. Deputies following up on the calls have only found students trying to sell items aimed at children.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s office said this sort of activity is frequent in the summer months. Companies hire students on summer break as door-to-door salespeople.

Sometimes the questions the students ask are inappropriate, according to deputies. When contacted, students are warned about asking personal questions.

Sunnyside police have also received reports of door-to-door salespeople. Police advise people who are uncomfortable with the salespeople to not answer the door and call police to investigate.

According to Fuller, the story has been forwarded on the internet and is being passed along locally on Facebook as a warning. However, as far as any local law enforcement agency can determine, the salespeople are not a threat.

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