RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Last week's violent home invasion and an increase in aggressive solicitors have Storey and Washoe County residents on alert.
Last friday morning a man pretending to be an insurance salesman forced his way into the home of a Storey County Planning Commissioner. He then tied the victim up and robbed the home.
Storey County deputies are looking for a white man with dark hair in his early 20's. They believe he is driving a black 90's Honda that may have bullet holes in it. The victim was able to free himself and fire a few shots as the suspect was fleeing the scene.
News 4 asked Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro if he believes the home was targeted or if it's more likely that this was a random act of violence.
"There's a host of different theories," Antinoro said. "He was a county commissioner several years ago, so I doubt it would have anything to do with that, but you never know if it's somebody who's been holding a grudge."
Antinoro said they're not ruling anything out, and the investigation isn't limited to Storey County.
"There have been other instances in the neighboring counties that have similarities but not to the same extent," he said. "So we're working with the neighboring agencies also."
The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is one of them.
"During the last week we've seen a large increase in reports from citizens throughout Washoe County, from the Cold Springs area in the North down to the South, of increased activity of door-to-door solicitors," spokesman Bob Harmon said.
Harmon said the type of sales vary from magazines to security systems.
"Some of the people who've been coming door to door have been a bit aggressive and that's not uncommon," he said.
So the sheriff's office is warning people across Nevada to be careful before opening the door to a stranger.
"Washoe County, Carson City, Storey County we're all working together to keep our public safe," Harmon said.
Antinoro said you can help by reporting suspicious activity.
"I'm very confident that somebody's going to call in with that little tidbit of information that's going to break it wide open," he said.
Harmon wants to stress that many solicitors are legitimate, but you should exercise caution.
Here are some guidelines the WCSO issued on how to help protect you and your family from illegal solicitors:
• If you don’t know the person, don’t open the door. Never feel obligated to greet an unfamiliar person knocking at your door.
• Always keep doors and windows locked. Storm doors or security doors are helpful when dealing with solicitors, because you can see and speak safely through the door. Use extreme caution before allowing an unfamiliar person into your home.
• Solicitors must have a business license and permit. Call your local law enforcement agency if a solicitor is aggressively attempting to get into your home or refusing to show their license/permit.
• If you are not interested, simply close the door and lock it. You don’t owe the person an explanation.
• Don’t expect all perpetrators of door-to-door sales scams to look the part. Some are clean and well-dressed and use special psychological techniques to try to get into your home or get your money.
• Always use extreme caution before providing any personal or financial information.
• Take a look around the front of your home to see what is visible from the street. If you can see your valuable items through the front windows, so can potential burglars.
• Residents can put a “no solicitors” sign on their door to help keep solicitors away.
• If you observe suspicious activity, notify your local law enforcement immediately.