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Book salesmen were pushy, but not burglars, Alaska State Troopers say

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Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 7:15 am, Tue Jul 23, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Alaska State Troopers say a pair of encyclopedia salesmen from Estonia who upset several residents in Fairbanks and North Pole with their aggressive selling tactics earlier this month have evidently moved on to Anchorage.

Troopers received several calls about the two salesmen from residents who said the two men were asking personal questions about them and their neighbors.

However, troopers said the two men were doing nothing illegal and that a resident in North Pole may actually be charged with assault after an altercation involving one of the salesmen on July 11.

Sgt. Mike Roberts at trooper headquarters in Fairbanks said troopers were well aware of the two foreign salesmen because the pair had knocked on the doors of several troopers, including Roberts.

“They were selling children’s encyclopedias,” Roberts said. “One of them was hitting Fairbanks and one was hitting North Pole.”

Roberts described the two men as “pushy and kind of aggressive” but at the same time called them “very polite and professional.” That’s not how they were viewed by residents who called troopers, some of whom were suspicious that the two men were scoping out homes to burglarize.

However, that didn’t appear to be the case, Roberts said.

“They have accents and don’t necessarily understand American and Alaska subculture,” he said. “They don’t take hints to go away. Basically to end contact with them you had to turn around and close the door.”

Troopers were called to a North Pole residence one night almost two weeks ago for a disturbance involving one of the salesmen and some North Pole residents, Roberts said, without going into details. A subsequent investigation resulted in the incident being forwarded to the Fairbanks District Attorney’s office for review, the trooper said.

Based on troopers’ contact with the two salesmen and the absence of calls during the past week, Roberts said it appears the two salesmen have moved on.

“Last I heard their plan was to leave Fairbanks and go to Anchorage,” he said. “That was a week ago. I think they’re in Anchorage now.”

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

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