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Randolph County

Buying or selling online? Randolph County Sheriff's Office opens lobby for safe exchanges

CHESTER — In a move made by several such departments across the country, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office has made available a safe space for internet purchases.

Making the announcement Friday on Facebook, the sheriff’s office laid out the details.

“The front lobby of the Sheriff’s Office will be offered as a safe place for citizens to meet and pick up items that are purchased over the internet on Craigslist, Facebook and many other person to person internet shopping sites,” the post read. The lobby is available 24 hours a day for deals, the post also mentioned.

Randolph County Sheriff Shannon Wolff said the idea for the space came after his office received a phone call from OfferUp, an online marketplace. The sign denoting the exchange space was donated by the company.

Wolff said the more he thought about the idea of providing such a space, the more it made sense to him. According to the Washington Post, there have been more than 100 murders connected to Craigslist alone — Wolff didn’t want to risk such a headline making its way to Randolph County.

“These things happen, like I said not locally, but nationally we’ve had quite a bit,” Wolff said, adding that he often is told by people in the community that they are leery of meeting someone to make a purchase or of having a loved one go to make a deal with a stranger.

“People get a pretty good feeling and they get a pretty good sense of security when they are standing in the sheriff’s department lobby,” Wolff said. “In my opinion you can't find much of a safer spot to do it.”

As for what can be sold in the lobby of the sheriff’s office, Wolff said, so long as the sale is legal, the sky's the limit; however, he said his office is not permitting firearm transactions on the premises. He said the front parking lot of the building is also under video surveillance, so those wanting to look at a larger item, such as a car, are encouraged to make the deal there.

Wolff said he hopes his department isn’t the last to adopt such a policy in the area.

“I don’t think I invented anything, but I think it’s just a good service and I hope other departments follow suit on it,” he said. Wolff said the idea is something simple that his office can provide and hopes it proves useful for county residents.

This story has been changed to reflect that concealed firearms are not permitted on government property.

isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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