THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — Fernando Duran is using the memory of his son to warn others about staying safe this holiday season when they meet people to buy items from a social media ad.
Fernando Perez, 18, was killed in Thornton last December after he arranged to sell items to two men he met online.
Both men were arrested and face murder and robbery charges related to the young man’s death.
“He lost his life for a pair of jeans and two T-shirts,” Duran said.
“I gave him a hug. I told him I love him and that I’ll wait for him the next time he came over the house,” Duran said. “It’s just a pain that I never want to see any other parent go through.”
It’s for that reason Duran is spreading awareness about the dangers of meeting people on social media markets.
“Always meet somewhere in a secure place where there’s a lot of people,” Duran said. “Always have somebody with you just in case something goes on.”
The loss of his son inspired Duran to spread the message to stay safe when you’re selling anything to someone you meet online.
“They’re strangers, complete strangers and you never know what their intentions are,” Perez said.
Denver Police have established “Safe Trade Zones” for safe sales transactions.
During the pandemic, 13 people were killed while meeting someone for a sale arranged online, according to a report by the ProPublica website. Many other violent crimes and scams have been reported since.