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'Spooky' van checks out

Deputies assure concerned citizens not to worry

Posted: February 12, 2009 12:11 a.m.
Updated: February 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Sheriff’s Deputies want to assure Santa Clarita Valley residents the “spooky red van” canvassing neighborhoods is nothing to worry about.

“The van is registered to a legitimate business and we have made contact with that business,” said Lt. Brenda Cambra, of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station.

SCV residents rapidly circulated e-mails with a flyer attached that contained unsubstantiated information about a maroon-colored van casing Santa Clarita neighborhoods, Cambra said.

The flyer claims deputies confirmed that the license plate on the van were fake. Deputies made no such claims and the license plates on the van are legitimate, Cambra said.

The flier also claimed the van’s driver was trying to evade deputies which is also not true, Cambra said.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received one call regarding this van at 7:58 p.m Jan. 28. The call stated that a “red” Ford van with tinted windows and two male adult occupants was in the area of Via Heraldo and Avenida Navarre in Valencia acting suspiciously, according to a sheriff’s statement.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station conducted an investigation into this van and the information listed in the flyer. The license plate provided in the call and on the flyer was off by one digit, the sheriff’s statement said.

Deputies identified the van and its registered owner as a legitimate licensed business operating out of Moorpark California, according to a sheriff’s statement.

The business sells vacuum cleaners door-to door and provides in-home demonstrations. They generally conduct demonstrations by appointment only and also canvas neighborhoods when in the area in an effort to generate interest and sales, the statement said.

The van and it’s occupants did not commit a crime, Cambra said.

Deputies encourage the public to take an active role in public safety by calling the station with tips on potential crimes or suspicious activity, Cambra said.

Deputies also encourage responsible reporting and hope residents don’t distribute unverified information, she said.

Creating these types of bulletins, flyer, and e-mails can cause undue fear or even panic and lead other community members to take inappropriate or unlawful action that might result in civil or criminal liability on the part of the creator.  

Deputies would have released any suspicious behavior that posed a threat to residents through its Web site or in The Signal, Cambra said.

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