Vanderbilt police create safe exchange location for online sales

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There are concerns after a man is shot while trying to sell a video game console. Three teenagers; Joshua Holden, John Holden, and Buran Love have been arrested.

According to police, the men met the seller off Leland Avenue in East Nashville. That’s where they shot a 23-year-old Ashland City man in the head. He is in the hospital in critical condition. His friend that was with him during the robbery and shooting said he is improving.

Tuesday’s meeting between the buyers and sellers was set up on an app called Offer Up. They met at a vacant house, something police strongly discourage for those of you who are meeting strangers for purchases.

“It’s not just here in Nashville, but across the country you are seeing as technology advances and more of these applications and sites pop up allowing people to take advantage of technology for the buying and selling of goods you see some people taking advantage of that and victimizing individuals,” Assistant Chief Rick Burr of Vanderbilt Police tells News 2.

He says that’s one of the reasons the university launched a designated “Exchange Area” or “Safe Deal Zone.”

“The whole idea of having this safe zone or transaction area is really to provide a safe and secure environment. If somebody was victimizing one of our students, staff or faculty anybody affiliated, our hope is that by meeting them at a police department that will obviously prevent that transaction from taking place. So that’s really our hope behind this whole thing.”

The seller or buyer must be Vanderbilt affiliated and exchanges need to be registered online in advance of meeting at the Vanderbilt Police department. There are two designated parking spots, marked exchange area. Cameras monitor the parking lot as well as the lobby that’s open 24-7 and watched by Vanderbilt officers.

“Our lobby area is covered with video camera and audio and our communication officers and our dispatch center have access to those videos around the clock. With the registration form, our communications officers can keep an eye on the cameras during a scheduled transaction.

Vanderbilt opened the exchange area about a month ago, but there are several other similar safe places for exchanges.

Gallatin police launched the concept in 2015 making them one of the first in the area. Other departments with similar set-ups include; Lebanon, Smyrna, Spring Hill and Greenbrier.