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Police promote 'safe exchange zone' after woman punched in face, robbed

Police promote 'safe exchange zone' after woman punched in face, robbed

Law enforcement is warning folks there are safer ways to make a sale with someone you met online.

This after a woman planning to sell her mobile phone met up with, and then was punched in the face and robbed by, a man from the internet.

It happened after dark on Wednesday night in the dark parking lot of Longfellow Elementary School.

RELATED STORY: Pasco police nab juvenile suspect accused of punching and robbing woman

K-9 Officer Jucon tracked the assailant, and officers arrested the unidentified minor, but Pasco police sergeant Scott Warren says not to let it get that far.

"The majority of people out there are good people, but there are some who aren't," he explained. "Don't give someone the opportunity."

Warren says it's especially dangerous when you're selling to or buying from a stranger.

"You don't know who's on the other end," he explained. "You don't know that person, don't put yourself in [the] position to become [a] victim."

The sergeant also recommends against inviting them to your house.

"Have I sold stuff at my house? Yeah," he laughed. "Has it worked out? Yeah. But it just takes that one."

Warren says instead of meeting somewhere familiar but poorly lit, like a school, pick somewhere in public with cameras.

He recommends the Safe Exchange Zone in the Pasco Police Department's parking lot.

"Go to a local grocery store parking lot where it's well-lit and there are plenty of witnesses," he said. "They don't want to be seen."

Warren says somewhere with cameras is best because if worst-comes-to-worst, video surveillance wont forget what the creep looks like.

He says victims, and even witnesses forget and even miss details.

"It's human nature," he explained. "When you get in a stressful situation your peripheral vision goes from 180 degrees down to, 'What's the threat in front of you?' You're going to miss stuff."

Finally, Warren says to trust your intuition.

If there's a red flag, listen to it and call the sale off.

"Just use common-sense, folks," he sighed. "Don't meet them at midnight."

Sgt. Warren also warns against going to meet a stranger alone. He says more than likely you're dealing with an honest person, but why risk it?

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