Safe Exchange Zone set up for online buyers and sellers


If you buy and sell online and have to meet a stranger to finish the deal, now you can do it in the newly created, protected environment called the Safe Exchange Zone.

The designated area is located in the parking lot of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Magic Mountain Parkway, opposite the station’s entrance.

The Safe Exchange Zone, in an area painted green, is monitored around the clock 24/7 by video camera surveillance.

“The city of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are excited to announce a new Safe Exchange Zone for the public, at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station,” Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city, wrote in a news release issued Friday.

“The Safe Exchange Zone provides residents with a secure, safe environment for those who buy, sell or trade items to complete transactions, as well as a neutral location for child custody exchanges,” she wrote.

“The Safe Exchange Zone will provide an environment with added security for our residents,” Capt. Robert Lewis said in the news release.

Officials hope the Safe Exchange Zone will reduce the number of fraudulent transactions and offer a level of protection against theft and other crimes.

Deputies shared details of one deal gone bad, which likely would not have happened in “the Zone.”

On Monday, about 5:35 p.m., after arranging online to meet in person, a local man met with another man In Canyon Country to sell his old cell phone, Deputy Joshua R. Stamsek wrote in a post on the SCV Sheriff’s Facebook page.

“The male attempting to buy the cellphone pushed the victim and ran past a security gate with the victim’s cell phone,” Stamsek wrote.

“Once through the gate, another male quickly slammed the gate shut, blocking the victim’s path. The two males suspected of setting up this robbery then fled with the victim’s cell phone in an unknown direction.”

The following day, Stamsek wrote, detectives discovered one of the suspects might be trying to sell the stolen cellphone on the same social media website, and in the same area.

Due to the victim’s detailed description of the first suspect, members of the sheriff’s Special Assignment Team and assisting detectives arrested a juvenile suspect on Thursday.

And, although the cell phone was recovered, the other suspect is still being sought.

For more information about the Santa Clarita Safe Exchange Zone, contact Sgt. Dan Dantice, of the SCV Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit, at [email protected] or 661-255-1121 ext. 5804.

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