6 alleged 'Johns' arrested in Kensington prostitution sting

KENSINGTON - June 27, 2013

69-year-old Charles Elgart of Blue Bell had about $2,000 in cash and a packet of Viagara tablets in his wallet when he was arrested Thursday morning in Kensington.

The used-car dealer was one of six alleged Johns arrested and charged with patronizing prostitutes during a sting by the Citywide Vice Enforcement Unit of the Philadelphia Police.

For this morning's sting, female undercover officers posed as prostitutes on corners known for that kind of activity.

Other officers looked on and once an alleged solicitation took place, they moved in to make the arrests.

Police say stings like this have netted 125 alleged Johns and 300 alleged prostitutes since the beginning of this year.

And while the prostitutes tend to return to their corners, the Johns, once arrested, tend to stay away which is exactly what police want.

"We want to get the word out there that if you are coming into Philadelphia to pick up prostitutes, you are going to get arrested and if you are driving a vehicle, we are going to confiscate your car," Sgt. Joseph Lanciano said.

Impounding the alleged Johns' cars is a new tactic, adding a bit more sting to the misdemeanor charges these suspects face.

Among the cars seized today, Desmond Cunningham's, which was decorated with several religious bumper stickers and the taxicab that Francis John was driving when he approached one of the undercover officers.

Police say, despite what some people think, prostitution is not a victimless crime.

"We have children who are out for the summer, they walk to the pool and the playground, they have to walk by people patronizing prostitution and kids are not only affected by what happens to them, but what they are exposed to," Lt. Derrick Wood said.

The cars that were confiscated today will be taken to the impound lot and their owners will have to petition the courts to get them back. That could take up to a month.

Here is a list of those arrested:

Benjamin Vonyan Allen, 54
Levittown, PA.
Charges: Patronizing a Prostitute and Solicitation

Desmond Cunningham, 47
Philadelphia, PA
Charges: Patronizing a Prostitute
and Solicitation

John Francis, 49
Philadelphia, PA.
Charges: Solicitation

Robert Santiago, 36
Philadelphia, PA.
Charges: Patronizing a Prostitute and Solicitation

Charles Elgart, 69
Blue Bell, PA.
Charges: Patronizing a Prostitute, Solicitation and Possession of a controlled substance (Viagra)

Stevenson Alcis, 35
Philadelphia, PA.
Charges: Patronizing a Prostitute and Solicitation

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