Local online meet-ups end in robbery

I-270

DARNESTOWN, Md. (WDVM) – Montgomery County Police are reminding locals to use safe zones when meeting online sellers in person. This comes after two recent robberies during in-person exchanges.

“Unfortunately, with these online exchange sites, you can never really verify who you’re dealing with,” said MCPD Officer Rick Goodale.

There’s been several recent instances of online meetups going wrong in Montgomery County in the last week and a half, according to police.

“We’ve had two reports of meetup robberies down in the Silver Spring area, where one case one person was selling sneakers, the other selling a cell phone. In both cases it resulted in the sellers being robbed of money and property,” Goodale said.

Police offer plenty of tips for staying safe when meeting an online seller in person.

“We certainly recommend that buyers and sellers don’t go to each other’s homes, if you’ve never met this person before. We recommend if you’re doing an exchange meetup, bring a second person with you. Let a family member know where you’re going and what you’re doing.”

MCPD offers its parking lots as a safe place to meet with buyers or sellers. The Germantown MCPD station has signs posted in its lot to let you know you’re in a safe exchange zone.

“Typically, most police departments around the country do offer some kind of exchange zone. So, if you don’t live in Montgomery County, if you live in another jurisdiction, check with your local police department and see if they have some kind of exchange zone,” said Goodale.

Officers also stress that it’s safest to make exchange transactions during daylight hours.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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