After man’s death, Mississippi sheriff’s office sets up secure place for people to meet for online purchases

Published 6:21 am Saturday, July 31, 2021

A sheriff’s department in one Mississippi county has set up a secure place for people to meet for transactions made online through sites such as Facebook Marketplace. The site was dedicated to a local man who was shot and killed last year.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office has created two new parking spaces in front of their headquarters for an “Internet Purchase Exchange Location” that will be under constant video surveillance, The Commercial Dispatch reported. A sign reads “In Memory of Micheal Jones.”

Jones drove to Bessemer, Alabama, on May 20, 2020, thinking he was going to pick up an iPhone 11 he agreed to buy through an app called Letgo.

Bessemer police found Jones’ body in an abandoned house, where he had been shot. A juvenile was arrested in April of this year and charged with murder.

“It’s not the same anymore in our home,” Bethie Jones, Micheal’s wife of 19 years, told the Dispatch. She attended this week’s ceremony unveiling the parking spots. “It won’t ever be the same.”

Patrol Capt. Dick Spann said online transactions are becoming more commonplace every day, and that community members need to be vigilant about their safety.

“This was an opportunity to use our own facility to provide (for the need). … I hope more communities will consider doing something like this,” he said.

Deputy Rhonda Sanders said people making online transactions should always ask if they are willing to meet at the sheriff’s department.

“If they don’t want to meet here, and they want to meet somewhere strange instead, don’t do the deal,” she said.
Jones said she hopes the spots can prevent another family from going through the pain hers has endured.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “I hope no one else has to go through what we’re going through because it hurts. Words cannot explain how much it hurts.”