Tulsa Police Offer Parking Lots As Safe Haven For Online Exchanges
TULSA, Oklahoma - You hear about it all the time, people respond to a Craigslist ad and get scammed, robbed or worse.
Tulsa police said they're now offering police parking lots as a place to make those transactions to keep you and your family safe.
It's just a parking lot, but the close proximity to police could deter a criminal from harming a buyer or seller.
An enticing post and a few clicks could lure someone with cash to a criminal.
Tevin Cooper, in Oklahoma City, is accused of responding to Craigslist ads, for an Xbox or Playstation, meeting the seller in front of a Best Buy or Walmart and demanding the game system with a gun.
10/28/2014 Related Story: Theft Suspect Accused Of Luring Victims Through Craigslist
Tulsa Police Officer, Leland Ashley, said their own pavement could be a safer place for Craigslist transactions.
"We can't guarantee that someone wouldn't decide to go ahead and commit a robbery and do something in our parking lot," he said.
But it could help.
Ashley said Craigslist users can meet in the parking lots of TPD substations.
"You don't want to do it on a location that's not frequently traveled either by pedestrians or by vehicles," he said.
Ashley said it's best to meet at a substation between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., but it's still not a good idea to go alone.
"I would say, maybe take one, two, three people with you so maybe, you know, that individual can see, well, they didn't come by themselves," Ashley said.
Patricia Stang owns A Lil Bit Retro, and often sells on Craigslist.
"It's wonderful that our local police are stepping up and helping out with a potentially bad situation," she said. "It used to be an okay thing to just go to a QuikTrip and be in a public place, but if they can go someplace that law enforcement is there."
The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is also allowing transactions in its parking lots.
Ashley said no matter where you meet, use caution.
"Go to a well-lit, well-traveled area," he said.
The antique store owner said buyers and sellers also use her parking lot for Craigslist transactions, and she's happy to keep an eye on them.