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January 28, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Magazine salesman arrested on sexual battery charges Magazine salesman arrested on sexual battery charges (January 28, 2004)

A man selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door was arrested January 21 on charges of sexually battering a teenage girl in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park.

Acting on a call to police by a 17-year-old girl living near Woodland Avenue and Cleland Place, Officer Alan Corpuz of the Menlo Park Police Department arrested Derrick Todd Jones, 32, in the 300 block of Central Avenue after a two-hour search of the area.

The girl subsequently identified Mr. Jones as the person who assaulted her, police said. He was booked into county jail on charges of sexual battery and lewd acts against a minor. Mr. Jones has addresses in Texas and Georgia, police said.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. when the girl refused to buy a subscription after opening the door to a man selling them, police said. The man reportedly responded by sitting down in the doorway, preventing the door from being closed.

After an exchange of words, the man pulled down the girl's pants and touched her inappropriately, police said. When the girl shouted, the man ran off, police said.

The victim was not physically harmed in the incident, police said.

The Menlo Park incident resembled the circumstances of an arrest of a magazine subscription salesman in Los Altos on January 19 but the cases are not related, police said.
Police tips

Door-to-door sales of magazine subscriptions is typically a nonprofit operation and does not require a city license, said Menlo Park police Sgt. Sharon Kaufman, adding that police often don't know the sales people are in town until someone complains.

But crimes committed by people selling subscriptions are rare, Sgt. Kaufman said. "These companies may not even be aware they're employing these types of people," she said.

She advised caution and offered three steps to consider taking to avoid the solicitors.

** Place a "No Solicitors" sign on your porch or near your front door.

** If you're home alone, don't open the door without first checking to see who it is.

** In suspicious situations, don't hesitate to call police.

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