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Hyde Park woman warns others after man claims to salt her sidewalks then demands cash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the ice storm rolling through, main roadways and residential streets have been coated with salt.

But one Kansas City woman says something seemed off when a stranger went to her door late Wednesday night and said he needed payment for salting her sidewalks.

It happened at 33rd and Harrison around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Her Ring Doorbell camera caught the interaction, showing what Mary Yvette Flann described as odd behavior.

Flann was already in bed when she was interrupted by an alert from her Ring Doorbell app. The motion censor showed there was an unknown man on her front porch.

The man identified himself as Fred, and claimed he did yard work for Flann in the past. He said he had just salted her walkway.

"I did everything. It ain't nothing but 20 bucks," the man said.

"No, you did that on your will, so I'm not giving you $20," Flann replied.

She refused to pay him, and the man left. But when she and her husband watched the video again, something stuck out.

"I checked out the other camera angle, and that's when I could see that he didn't actually knock on our door," Flann said. "I think he may just have been scoping out our porch to see what was there."

The man never touched the door and never said anything until Flann initiated a conversation through the app.

"So I feel like, to not alert us to your presence just doesn't feel right," Flann said.

Despite the bag of salt he carried, the man's claims of labor didn't add up.

"After he left, we called the police and my husband went outside to see if he could see him at any other's neighbors houses," Flann said. "There was no salt anywhere on our driveway or side walks."

FOX4 checked with Flann's neighbors and learned the man from the video made his rounds with a similar story about salting their driveways for $20.

"I told him we didn't have any cash in the house, and he said, 'Well, can I at least get 10 bucks for the salt I already used?'" Reuben Jones said.

Jones said it's normal to see people come to his door offering up yard work service.

Kansas City police said in this weather, they've had several reports like the one Flann called in. Officers are doing extra patrols in those neighborhoods.

Sgt. Jake Becchina said whether or not what the man did was against the law depends on the circumstances.

"There are prowling offenses that prevent someone from coming onto someone's property and looking into their home during hours of darkness," Becchina said. "If you did not solicit work for someone and they are coming up to your residence, wanting money for whatever work and you're not comfortable with that, immediately tell them to leave. They need to be told to leave and to go away. Also call police, call 911 because that's a suspicious party, and you don't know exactly what they're up to or what they are capable of. And we will absolutely respond out on a suspicious party call and try to get that person to leave."

KCPD said Flann did the right thing by being firm and assertive with the stranger on her porch.

Police are approaching this from a crime prevention standpoint  and using it as a teachable moment. They want to remind people that a reputable business will not go around late at night asking for money.

And despite the odd incident, Flann still has a positive view of her Hyde Park neighborhood.

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