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Waite Park police track down creepy, "rag"-toting parking lot perfume salesmen

It's one thing to be approached by a perfume salesperson in a department store. It's another when they approach you in a parking lot.
It's one thing to be approached by a perfume salesperson in a department store. It's another when they approach you in a parking lot.

We can't imagine how these guys thought this was a good business model.

Earlier this week, three individuals were traveling around the St. Cloud area trying to sell perfume by approaching people in parking lots and asking them to smell fragranced pieces of material, according to KARE 11. Waite Park police began their search for the trio after complaints from residents raised serious safety concerns.

"It's an unusual activity so it caused concern," said Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud. "One person who called described [the perfumed materials] as a rag."

The whole situation sounds like an urban legend. In fact, a similar story had been told in chain emails describing kidnappings instigated by asking people to smell rags that are actually doused in chloroform or other harmful chemicals.

Bentrud said he didn't know if a chain email had motivated any of the callers to report the incident to the police and thinks common sense about the dangers played the largest role.

"The obvious concern was what exactly you were smelling if you don't know the people and you don't know what they're having you smell," he said.

In the end, Bentrud said the incident was "not the safety concern we thought it was."

Bentrud said the group had been in various parts of the St. Cloud metro selling their perfumes Monday. What one of the callers had described as a rag was actually pieces of paper sprayed with the scents and a price list for the products.

According to Bentrud, the traveling salesmen were identified by police after a few hours and warned they needed the proper licensing if they planned on approaching people with their perfumes again.


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