Madison County deputies urge 'safe exchange zone' to avoid scams, thefts

Madison County deputies urge 'safe exchange zone' to avoid scams, thefts
Police say this man recorded himself stealing a phone from Smartphone Medics in Huntsville.
Madison County deputies believe this car may have been used in a theft case. (Source: Madison County Sheriff's Office)
Madison County deputies believe this car may have been used in a theft case. (Source: Madison County Sheriff's Office)

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Several people have fallen victim to a PayPal scam in Madison County, losing out on hundreds of dollars.

In one case, an 800 iPhone was stolen from Smartphone Medics. In another case, a $400 iPhone was stolen from a college student. In both cases, they were selling the phones on the Facebook Marketplace.

They both say a "Ladarius Shorter" messaged them to buy the phone and sent them bogus Paypal emails. The owner of Smartphone medics caught on, but the guy snatched the phone and ran away. The college student didn't catch on until it was too late. By the time she messaged the crook, he vanished.

Lt. Donny Shaw with the Madison County Sheriff's Office said the department does not believe "Ladarius Shorter" is the guy's real name. They also detail several other cases throughout the county, but they don't believe the guy poses great danger.

"Go to an area that has high traffic volume, has a lot of exposure and has video surveillance cameras, just a place that has a lot of traffic and people coming and going," Shaw said.

Shaw also recommends making those transactions in their "safe exchange zone." It's located at their office at 715 Wheeler Ave. in Huntsville. He said it's the best way to protect yourself.

Sheriff's deputies want you to take a good look at the picture and the possible getaway car to help accurately identify the suspect and get him off the streets.

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