Johns be warned: That prostitute advertising on Craigslist may not be who she says she is.
Investigators with the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department and the state police posed as prostitutes in online ads during a sting that culminated in a dozen arrests over an eight-hour period Thursday. Chief Richard Castle said the operation, set up at local hotel he did not disclose, was so successful that authorities had a tough time keeping up with the number of johns responding to the ad.
“We were surprised by how many we got,” Castle said. “We were only limited by how fast we could turn them over.”
The operation followed a similar one at an unnamed hotel in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday, targeting prostitutes and pimps setting up shop in the city during track season. City police arrested nine women on prostitution charges during the operation, which also focused on advertisements placed online.
The city operation in which officers posed as johns was busy enough that police barely had time to arrest one of the alleged prostitutes before another came knocking. Prosecutor James Murphy III said one of the alleged prostitutes became so irate that a john wasn't answering his door that she started making a scene outside his room.
“She was banging on the door, yelling 'you called me,' 'it's my turn,' and 'I want my money,'” Murphy said. “Well, she got her money and then ultimately got arrested.”
Those arrested and charged with misdemeanor prostitution included Challana L. Dobbs, 28 of Schenectady; Ashley M. Morales, 21, of Cohoes; Stephanie D. Jones, 27, of Albany; Domenica M. Sheldon, 25, of Albany; Alison D. Bruno, 35, of Albany; Shameeka A. Lewis, 36 of Albany; Nicole M. Hickman, 37 of Albany; Dionne G. Ingoldsby, 28, of Scotia; and Jamie C. Peppin, 33, of Ballston Spa. Also arrested was Michelle L. Barr, who was charged with possession of marijuana after arriving to the room with one of the alleged prostitutes.
In the Clifton Park operation, the dozen men were charged with patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor offense. All are scheduled to appear in Town Court at a later date.
Those arrested include Michael J. Smith, 44, of North Creek; David A. Johnson, 58, of Albany; Theodore A. Rozell, 43, of Whitehall; William G. Wade, 40, of Ballston Spa; Eric D. Kohls, 39, Ballston Lake; Wilson Colon, 41, Clifton Park; Johnathon R. Davis, 25, of Schenectady; Mark E. Fellows, 49, of Cato; Quincy L. Brackett,35, of Mobile, Ala.; Leonard Galati, 49, of Staten Island, Maxwell G. Owens, 24, of Mechanicville, who was also ticketed for a violation count of unlawful possession of marijuana; and Glenn D. Weaver, 43, of Colonie.