Amsterdam PD reminds residents to use lobby for safe online meetups

Montgomery County

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A couple Amsterdam patrolmen in the right place at the right time were all that stopped an online seller from getting scammed on Market Street on New Year’s Day.

“Once they saw someone darting out from the restaurant, it immediately clicked with them that they had to react and noticed that, hey that doesn’t add up,” explains Detective Joseph Spencer.

That 17-year-old scammer picked the wrong day to snatch and dash from an online meetup. Detective Spencer says the suspect tried to get a five finger discount with a $400 cell phone he was supposed to get from a man out of town.

Luckily for that seller, the teen didn’t get far. Two officers on patrol passed by as the boy was rushing away, found the seller, and after hearing what happened, set up a perimeter to catch the thief.

“[The seller] was very happy and we were happy that he got his property back. He uses those online services very often, so we told him anytime and every time he’s in the Amsterdam area, please don’t forget about us, please use the lobby,” Spencer says.

The police department set up a safe space in their lobby for online exchanges. It’s surrounded by cameras, officers, and completely anonymous.

“You do not have to check in with us, you don’t have to give us your name, you don’t have to tell us what you’re selling. You can simply come in, have a seat in the lobby, conduct what you have to conduct and go about your day,” Spencer explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Det. Spencer encourages all online sellers to utilize this space to keep themselves and their items safe.

“We feel it’s a very easy way to vet who you’re buying or selling from. If you say to them, I’ll totally meet you in Amsterdam, but I’d like to meet at the police station. If they are unwilling to do that, I believe you have your answer right then and there that’s probably not someone you should do business with,” he concludes.

The street address for the Amsterdam Police Department is 1 Guy Park Avenue Ext Amsterdam, NY 12010.

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