LPS Safe Exchange Zone not safe for criminals

Lethbridge Police have charged a 17-year-old male who arranged to sell a stolen iPhone to an undercover officer in the LPS Safe Exchange Zone.

On June 13, 2019 police responded to a report of a stolen iPhone after the owner located it for sale on the Lethbridge and Area Swap and Buy Facebook page. The phone had previously been stolen from an office building along the 1100 block of 2 A Avenue North. Through further investigation it was confirmed the phone for sale on Facebook was the same phone that had been stolen from the office. On June 14, 2019 the seller was contacted by an undercover officer who arranged to purchase the phone. Police offered to meet the seller in the parking lot of a local restaurant, but the seller declined, insisting instead that the transaction take place in the Safe Exchange Zone at the police station. As agreed, the subject later attended police headquarters with the stolen phone and was promptly arrested.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified, is charged with one count of possession of stolen property for the purpose of trafficking. He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 30.

Since its inception two years ago, the Safe Exchange Zone – consisting of two parking stalls in front of the police station that are CCTV-monitored – has provided online buyers and sellers with a safe place to meet and complete their transactions. Unless, of course, you’re a criminal. Then it’s kind of risky.