There are already plenty of negative news reports on door-to-door alarm sales scams, but I just read another news article that’s not about alarm licensing violations, fraudulent or deceptive sales practices, or stealing other alarm companies’ customers: this time it’s sexual assault. And while the alarm salesperson did not work directly for ADT, there was an unfortunate connection to the “big boy” of the US alarm industry. Here’s the story, from Houston, Texas.
A La Porte woman said a man selling her a security system tried to sexually assault her. Police said Johnny Angel Lara knocked on the woman’s door and said he represented ADT security systems. “He had an ADT logo on his shirt and he was very professional looking,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
The woman said she let him in to look at her current system, and then asked him to leave. “His body language changed. His attitude changed. I was starting to get a weird vibe,” the woman said. Investigators said he tried to sexually assault her.”He said, ‘I want to have sex with you one time.’ That’s when he pulled out a condom,” the woman said. “I was fighting him and pushing his hands off.” After about 30 minutes, she said she made it to the front door and Lara left.
Arrest – and Prior Charges
Lara was charged with attempted sexual assault. He denied the accusation. He has previously been charged with marijuana possession, theft and evading arrest.Lara does not work for ADT directly, but through a contractor. His supervisor did not return calls for comment.
No Background Checks for Alarm Employees?
As someone who has been screening and hiring alarm industry employees for over 20 years, I am shocked by this last part of the news story. While the report does not say that the individual had been convicted of the other offenses, it does refer to “previous charges” – any of which should have been sufficient to deny this person employment in the first place. If the newspaper reporting the story could uncover these charges, then rudimentary background checking should be just as effective – at least when applied in a disciplined manner. While I recognize that ADT did not directly employ the suspect, ADT was using the services of the company that employed the suspect. And this is not the first time.
Rape Arrest Early in 2012
You may have seen my previous blog post on a related news story. Earlier in 2012, an in-home salesperson working for a different ADT contractor was arrested for rape in Tampa, Florida. Again, ADT was not the direct employer, but the individual was working for an ADT “Authorized Dealer.” These authorized dealers are subject to some very strict rules, but it appears that routine background checks may not be included in the ADT dealer requirements. You would think that a high-profile alarm company allowing its name to be used by in-home personnel would be more careful. For more on ADT’s Authorized Dealer program, see this prior post.
It’s tragic when an incident like this one occurs, but it serves as a reminder of just how dangerous it can be to open your door to a stranger. While the odds may be low that this could happen to you, who wants to be the exception to the rule? After repeated warnings about alarm sales scams, overly aggressive sales techniques, and other issues, it’s easy to see why so many people have turned to affordable wireless home security that can be purchased online and easily set up by the homeowner – systems like the ones FrontPoint sells. No salesperson, no installer in the home – just peace of mind.
FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door, but even so, we run robust background checks on every FrontPoint employee. Once you start shopping online for home security and automation services, you’ll quickly learn why FrontPoint is the leader in interactive, wireless home security: our long list of five-star reviews spells out very clearly what makes us the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.Being on top means we have to prove ourselves in every aspect of our business – with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. These days, that makes us rare indeed among nationwide alarm service providers. And no worries about who’s at the door!