Online shoppers urged to use safe exchange zones for transactions

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PASSAIC -

Law enforcement officers are urging people who buy and sell items online to use caution when meeting strangers to conduct transactions.

The warnings come after a 20-year-old Hamilton man was kidnapped and murdered while meeting up with someone he thought was going to sell him a PlayStation.

Danny Diaz-Delgado was found dead near a creek in Hamilton last month. He was shot multiple times and was bound and gagged. Trenton resident Rufus Thompson was later arrested and charged for the crime. Prosecutors say that Thompson used the promise of a PlayStation to lure Diaz-Delgado out so that he could be robbed.

RELATED: Hamilton man found dead was trying to buy video games, officials say

Two towns in New Jersey have set up “safe exchange zones” so that people can make these in-person transactions in a safe and secure environment.

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora says that his town installed the zones inside and outside of the police station after a series of robberies and scams related to online sales.

“The biggest difference that it makes is that it provides a safe area for individuals to make these transactions and be able to make it back home,” Lora says.

“We have 24 hour surveillance, 24 hour staffing, and it's round the clock,” says Deputy Chief Christopher Storzillo.

Lora says that he hopes that other towns follow suit and add their own safe exchange zones.

But until other towns have these zones, officials urge anyone who is buying or selling items online to meet in a public, well-lit place and to call authorities if anything seems suspicious.

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