Use the local sheriff’s station parking lot as a sort of online seller sanctuary.
That’s the advice Shirley Miller of with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is offering to anyone looking for a safe place to exchange in person, the merchandise they’ve sold online.
“If you’re going to meet someone in person for the first time, tell them you want to meet in the parking lot of the sheriff’s station,” she said.
“If they don’t agree then you’ll know something was wrong,” she said.
It’s Miller’s hope to prevent online sellers being robbed by the people they agree to meet in the exchange of goods.
And, the sheriff’s spokeswoman said she’s learned of a couple of recent robberies.
On the last day of July, a man called deputies after he reported having his $5,000 gold necklace stolen by a male suspect, according to Dep. Brian Rooney in charge of the sheriff’s Zone 2 District covering Castaic and Val Verde.
“The suspect and victim met to test drive a used car that was for sale,” Rooney reported. “The suspect grabbed the victim’s necklace and ripped it off of his neck. The suspect ran to a nearby waiting vehicle and drove off.”
Three days after the necklace robbery, deputies responded to a similar robbery in Valencia.
“A 31-year-old Valencia man had placed an ad to sell his iPhone 6,” Miller told The Signal this week.
“Last Wednesday, he made arrangements to meet a man – the potential buyer – in front of a business located on the 23600 block of Valencia Boulevard,” she said.
“The suspect met him in front of the arranged location and when the victim handed him the phone to inspect, the suspect took off on a skateboard with the phone through the parking lot and out of view,” Miller said.
The suspect, in this particular case, was described as a male, black about 25 to 30 years old, Miller said.
“This incident was unfortunate because the victim took the right safety precautions in arranging to meet the potential buyer in a public place,” she said.
“We would like to let residents know that they are always more than welcome to make arrangements to meet prospective buyers in front of our Sheriff’s Station and they can inform the other party that is where they are meeting them at,” she said.
“This may dissuade anyone out there is trying to take advantage of an unsuspecting victim,” Miller said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt