Tampa, Florida – The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced a new program in an effort to make transactions made online safer.
"Seconds later he's looking at the phone, he pulled a gun on me and took off with the cell phone," said Mannix Santos.
While his wife and daughter waited in the car, he was robbed at gunpoint after arranging to meet a man in the parking lot of a Seffner Winn Dixie to sell a mobile phone in December 2013.
While the numbers are likely higher now, a study conducted by the AIM Research group shows that between February 2010 and 2011 there were 330 crimes overall, 12 murders, and 105 robberies and assaults.
"We're going to allow people who use these types of internet things to make transactions in our parking lot," said Sgt. Steve Lewis with the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office.
It's called "Operation Safe Sale" will also people to use the parking lot of four HSCO patrol districts, which are well lit and offer video surveillance.
Arranging meetings in parking lots of the sheriff's office is nothing new. They are used for parental exchanges of children involved in civil custody issues.
The four patrol districts "Safe Sale" locations are as follows:
- Patrol District 1, 14102 N.20th Street, Tampa, Florida
- Patrol District 2, 2310 N. Falkenburg Rd, Tampa, Florida
- Patrol District 3, 7202 Gunn Highway, Tampa, Florida
- Patrol District 4, 508 33rd Street SE, Ruskin, Florida