Yard Sale Safety

by Teresa Higginbotham

Recently, I learned some things about yard sales I had never thought of before. A yard sale can be a easy target for criminals. Think about it, who usually runs a yardsale? A woman. What is she usually sitting there with? A box of money.

A friend of mine was having a yard sale and as she was sitting in her driveway a police car drove up and ask if a man fitting a certain description had been there. Seems the guy would go up and ask if they were having a good sale and when they answered he would pull out a gun and say, "Great, now give me all your money." He was even going into their homes and stealing valuables. With this in mind, here are some rules of thumb in setting up a yardsale.

1. Never man the sale alone (especially if you aren't one!)
2. Keep an eye on your moneybox and the people around it.
3. Empty your cash box from time to time and put the money in the house.

Which brings me to another story of a yard sale scam artist. This woman approached a friend of mine and asked if she could go into her house to try on the clothes she wanted to purchase. My friend said no and the woman tried to get her to do it a few more times and then gave up. A few minutes later she came up with her daughter and said she had to use the restroom and could they go into the house. My friend, now getting suspicious, said no again. A few minutes later the lady came up and said she wanted to buy a $10 piece of furniture but wanted to call her husband and ask about it. Could she go into the house and use the phone? My friend again told her no and the lady went away. A few hours later, the lady showed up again, this time with her husband and child wearing new clothes and wig. My friend never knew just what exactly the lady was going to do in her house, but could tell it wasn't good. She posted her chow at the door and when the lady walked up and started trying to get into the house again, with the same line of excuses, my friend signaled her dog to sit up. The lady left shortly thereafter.

So, here are some more rules.
1. Don't let people in your house for any reason.
2. Be firm with people. They are used to hearing no and will try to wear you down.

Finally, watch your stuff. People shoplift at yard sales just like anywhere else. Now after reading this you might think--I can't do it--they're all out to get me. I've been an avid yard sale shopper for years and find that most of the time I've felt safe and have never seen anyone steal anything. Of course, I wasn't watching for a theft either, I was too busy trying to find a pair of boy's size six jeans with no holes in the knees.

Oh, and one more thing. Last week I was out "Saling" and there was a car accident right in front of a yard sale. One driver was slowing down for the sale and was hit by another. Drive carefully when entering and exiting the street in front of a home with a yard sale. Many people are looking at what's on the lawn and not at who's on the street.

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