RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local mom is advocating for safe exchange zones after Richmond Police say a family was robbed at gunpoint.
Police say on January 21st, officers were called to Mansion Avenue where they learned of a robbery. Officers report a family had been robbed after trying to buy an iPhone 11 listed on Facebook Marketplace. The armed man stole their phone and cash, and no one was injured.
Police say 25-year-old Ricky Coleman has been charged with robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Officials are asking people to be aware of the challenges that come with buying and selling things online.
That message hits home for Diane Grey, who lost her 23-year-old son, Joshua, after he was shot and killed along Mechanicsville Turnpike in 2018.
“He was on his way to go to work and was stopping by to make some dollars selling his old iPhone,” she said.
Grey and her family have become advocates for safe exchange zones, saying it could have saved Josh’s life.
“My legacy for Josh is to bring awareness so another family doesn’t have to do and travel this road that we have,” Grey explained.
The Grey family has posted billboards across the Richmond area in hopes of bringing awareness.
“I want to save somebody else’s family from this,” Grey told 8News. “And if this small little thing that we do does that, then maybe his death wasn’t in vain.”
RPD safe exchange zones are marked in areas in the parking lots of Second Precinct on East Belt Boulevard and Fourth Precinct on Chamberlayne Avenue. Each have security cameras, and the areas are recorded 24/7.
RPD also recommends meeting during the daytime, bringing someone with you to the exchange and meeting in a public place with other people nearby.