MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Moncks Corner police are offering locals a safer alternative to exchanging items bought and sold online, following recent robberies over online deals.
"There's so many scams out there, so many frauds out there with Craigslist and other sites," Moncks Corner Police Chief Rick Ollic said. "You don't know who you're encountering when you come out here."
Chief Ollic said meeting a strange buyer or seller in an undisclosed location can be dangerous. According to police reports, a Feb. robbery originated over a sale of an Apple i-watch via a website. Another incident occurred Sunday where police reports state a woman was robbed at a Walmart parking lot while trying to sell her cell phone to a Craigslist buyer.
"There was an apple watch purchase to be made and the victim was robbed by gunpoint," Ollic said. "It became obvious that it was important that we create a safe zone so people could come for that sense of security, and we could have video evidence of what happens, not only with the internet but in child custody exchanges."
The safe exchange zone at Moncks Corner's municipal office and police department on Carolina Avenue is marked by signs for locals' convenience. The area is monitored 24/7 by cameras for added security,
"In what's going on in the world today with all the violence, we needed this," Mayor Michael Lockliear said. "There's a lot of trading going on on Craigslist and eBay and we needed a safe zone for people to come out sell what they needed to sell and exchange their gifts."
Police still advise setting up exchanges during daylight, despite the area being recorded 24 hours a day. Residents can also ask for a police officer to be present during the exchange.
"You utilize this in an area where you know that you're going to have some way to capture evidence of what happened and you're safe in the process of doing it," Ollic said.
Mt. Pleasant and North Charleston police departments also offer safe zone sites for internet exchanges.
Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.