Police bust alleged prostitution ring near airport

PHILADELPHIA - August 19, 2010

Dozens of sexually charged ads were listed online, on sites like Craigslist and backpage.com, and in print, listed, they say, in City Paper. But the services advertised were not as they appeared.

"Over the past six to eight months, we've seen an increase in violent crime occurring at a number of hotels down by the airport," Philadelphia Police Captain Dan MacDonald said.

Violent acts including numerous robberies, assaults, and one homicide. Police say they are all linked to prostitution.

So, armed with phone numbers listed online, police executed a sting. They set up a series of rendezvous inside one unnamed hotel near Philadelphia International Airport yesterday.

"We sent an undercover officer to make phone calls to these services at which time the females, along with their male companions, came out to these locations where they solicited the undercover officers sex for money at which time they were arrested," Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Charles Green of the Citywide Vice Enforcement Unit said.

9 people, 6 women and 3 men, were nabbed.

According to investigators, a common practice of prostitutes here is to lure their so-called clients into hotel rooms, calling in others once a 'John' is determined to be an easy mark.

In one recent instance: "A female was in a room with a victim, once the female had the male in a compromising position, her accomplice came knocking on the door and robbed him point of knife," Green said.

Now, police are putting prostitutes and their prospective customers on notice.

"The message I have is you never know where we're going to be at," MacDonald said.

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