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Buying on internet exchange sites can be a little safer in Hamilton County

Posted at 4:30 AM, Nov 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 07:07:16-05

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Capt. Tom Butler knows it happens all around the country: Somebody finds an item online they want to buy. They meet the seller in person, only to be robbed. Or sometimes, the seller's hawking stolen goods.

For Butler, there's a particular local case that comes to mind. 

"A woman who found a car on Craigslist in the Greater Cincinnati area -- she went to meet the gentleman selling this car," Butler said. "She found she didn't like the vehicle, she left. He followed her home, broke into her house and assaulted her and took $1,000."

RELATED: Butler County Jail offers secure location to exchange online purchases

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office doesn't want that happening again. It's opening a place in its lobby at patrol headquarters for buyers and sellers to meet in person. The sheriff's office has partnered with OfferUp, an internet exchange site, to open the "meetup spot."

The area has surveillance cameras. There are armed, uniformed sheriff's deputies nearby.

"You just never know who you're going to meet," Butler said. "You don't know what their intentions are. Most people doing it, they have good intentions. But there's always that rare occasion when someone has other intentions."

Patrol headquarters is located at 11021 Hamilton Ave., just south of Interstate 275. The internet exchange area is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. 

Butler hopes it will prevent what happened to the woman from happening again.

"If something like that were to happen, where they follow you, we have a record of who's here and we'll be able to investigate it if something like that were to happen," he said.