Safe zones

There are safe exchange zones in front of the Public Safety Building at 1224 Courthouse Road in Stafford. There are two parking spots that provide a safe and well-lit area for people to exchange goods or conduct custody exchanges in a law-enforcement protected area.

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office is again warning residents to be cautious when selling items online.

Two county residents have been ripped off in recent days after meeting up with prospective buyers with items they’d advertised on Craiglist, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Amanda Vicinanzo said. Both had been swindled by the time they realized that the money they’d received was counterfeit. Both thefts took place in the 200 block of Dover Place in North Stafford.

The latest reported incident happened Sunday. The victim had placed an ad on Craigslist regarding the sale of his laptop computer and accessories. He was contacted by someone who agreed to purchase the computer for $500.

The victim met up with two men and exchanged the laptop and accessories for money. As the purchasers began walking away, the victim more closely examined the money and realized it was fake.

He yelled at the men and began chasing them. One of them dropped the laptop and kept running. The other got away with the accessories.

Two days earlier, another victim showed up in that same area to sell an Apple watch he had advertised online for $300. A man who identified himself only as “Phillip” agreed to buy the watch.

He paid for the watch and walked away. The seller soon realized that the bills felt different than usual and noticed they had “For Movie Use Only” printed on the back. He looked up and saw the thief running away in the distance.

Deputy Alex Smith and his police dog, Lobo, attempted to track the perpetrator, but were unable to find the suspect.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 540/658-4400.

Vicinanzo said police want to remind residents of the safe exchange zones in front of the Public Safety Building at 1224 Courthouse Road. There are two parking spots there that provide a safe and well-lit area for people to exchange goods or conduct custody exchanges in a law-enforcement protected area.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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