CMPD partners with QuikTrip for safe person-to-person sales in Charlotte

It’s a years-long partnership with QuikTrip locations in the CMPD’s jurisdiction.
The zones are marked by a sign.
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 11:59 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Those online deals are sometimes too good to pass up. But with any money transaction, there is a risk.

However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said strategically placed parking spaces at a common Charlotte gas station can help put your safety first.

It’s a years-long partnership with QuikTrip locations in the CMPD’s jurisdiction. Officers said when people would find those great deals on places like Facebook Marketplace, sometimes caution would be thrown to the wind.

“People were meeting a complete stranger at the end of a dead-end street or meeting at nighttime, and sometimes things would go bad,” Ofc. Johnathan Frisk, with CMPD’s crime prevention unit, said.

Both locally and nationwide, there are countless stories of someone hoping to buy or sell an item, and getting robbed instead. There are also stories where it ends with a loss of life.

Unfortunately, that was the case of Zachary Finch. The 21-year-old was killed in Mecklenburg County in 2017 while trying the buy a cell phone from someone he met online. His death helped bring about the partnership.

CMPD hopes the Safe Exchange Zones can help prevent any transactions from going sour.

The ‘zone’ is a set of specially designated parking spaces, with signs, often outlined in red paint, at every QuikTrip location in CMPD’s jurisdiction.

“They have really good lighting and really good cameras,” Frisk said. “It’s going to capture all that information if something were to go wrong. If something were to happen, we’d get a good description of the person, the vehicle, direction of travel.”

CMPD says before meeting up, people should also be vocal about their plans to meet in a public and visible space.

“I think if someone was planning to cause harm to you or someone else or maybe try to rip you off and take your money, you’re telling this person that you’re going to be seen, you’re going to be captured and eventually we’re going to come and track you down,” Frisk said.

Whether someone uses the Safe Exchange Zones or not, police said there are some crucial things to keep in mind when determining when and how to carry out any of those transactions. Frisk suggests:

  • Come with a trusted friend
  • Meet during the day
  • Choose a public location
  • Choose a place that is well-lit with camera surveillance
  • If not the exchange zone, consider a police station, etc.
  • If something robs you, don’t fight for the item; just call the police as soon as possible