CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - If it feels a bit risky buying and selling things online through websites and apps, CMPD is hoping to change that.
The police department is partnering with QuikTrip to launch a "safe exchange program."
This comes just four months after a 21-year-old was gunned down during an online transaction in southwest Charlotte. "He was a beautiful soul," said Zack Finch's Mother, Tara Finch.
With a grin from ear to ear, Zack Finch is described as a helper who constantly reached his hands out to others. "He was giving and caring," she said.
"And he would give you the shirt off his back, literally. Zackary was just trusting-- and he trusted the wrong people."
21-year-old Zack Finch was a college student and baseball player. It's been about four months since he was gunned down by three teens during an Iphone transaction through the app "let go."
"If he saw these three young men in the street and they needed help, Zack would've been the first to pull over and help them," said Finch.
"There are evil, vile people in this world and they don't care-- they didn't care about Zack or his family-- we will be forever changed."
This year, approximately 40 people in the Charlotte area have been involved in some type of robbery through online application transactions-- a number CMPD believes is under-reported.
"They've robbed more than one life-- they robbed all our lives," said Finch. "We are broken, our family is broken, our community is broken."
In an effort to curb the number of robberies committed during online transactions, 14 QuikTrips throughout the area will provide safe spaces for people to meet and workout online exchanges.
The spaces will be marked with camera surveillance rolling 24/7. "Our effort is to reduce the number of thefts, robberies and violent crimes sometimes associated with these social media websites," CMPD said.
"Zack was all about helping people," said Finch. "So if this safe exchange zone helps other people-- Zack will be smiling down on us, I'm sure."
CMPD hopes to have the program up and running by sometime next week. Here are some safety tips from CMPD:
- Make transactions during daylight
- Make sure you're in a crowded/public location and know the location
- Arrive early and make sure there is more than one way in and out
- Trust your gut. If it's too good to be true, it probably is
- Don't go alone-- always take a phone
- If something happens, cooperate
- If you have to go alone, let someone know when , where, how and why.. call police immediately if something happens
- NEVER allow someone to change the location on you
Here is a list of participating QuikTrip locations:
- 127 E. Woodlawn Rd. Charlotte, NC 28217
- 6721 Albemarle Rd. Charlotte, NC 28212
- 7205 The Plaza Charlotte, NC 28216
- 2326 Sandy Porter Rd. Charlotte, NC 28273
- 11230 N. Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28262
- 7115 S. Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28273
- 3025 Wilkinson Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28208
- 116 Clanton Rd. Charlotte, NC 28217
- 3206 Eastway Dr. Charlotte, NC 28205
- 5209 Central Ave. Charlotte, NC 28212
- 4937 Sunset Rd. Charlotte, NC 28269
- 4200 Brookshire Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28216
- 5708 N. Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28213
- 10910 Gold Links Dr. Charlotte, NC 28213