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Police Net 24 Men in Prostitution Sting

February 06, 1992|PHIL SNEIDERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — In an effort to keep a lid on local prostitution, Glendale Police last week arrested two dozen men who allegedly tried to buy sexual favors from undercover female officers during daylight hours along two busy city streets.

Police said the prostitution sting also resulted in the arrest of one male high school student, who was booked as a juvenile, and one woman--a motel employee, who was booked for investigation of interfering with a police investigation after she allegedly tried to warn motorists about the ruse.

Officers said they conduct such undercover sweeps in the city several times a year.

"We don't have a major streetwalking problem," Sgt. Lief Nicolaisen said. "But if you don't do these, you run the risk of prostitution getting out of control."

The relatively large number of arrests--made between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday along San Fernando Road and on Colorado Street--may lead to more frequent crackdowns, police said.

"If they netted 26 people during the daytime, there may be more of it out there than the public realizes," Nicolaisen said.

Lt. Don MacNeil, who oversees the Glendale Police Department's vice and narcotics bureau, was not alarmed by the results of the sting.

"Our prostitution problem in this community is insignificant," he said. "These operations are run periodically to hamper those who would engage in this type of behavior and also to send a message to those who might be contemplating it in the future.

"In essence, it becomes a public service announcement as well as a preventive measure."

MacNeil said the four female officers who participated dressed "very generically," in jeans and T-shirts, and "not in any provocative fashions."

To avoid allegations of entrapment, the women waited for the motorists to contact them and raise the subject of sex for a price, he said.

Each man who accompanied one of the female officers to a nearby motel room was arrested when he stepped inside. The men were cited for soliciting an act of prostitution and were released after promising to appear in court. Fines for such misdemeanor offenses are typically $250 to $500, police said.

The men arrested in the Glendale sting included both white-collar and blue-collar workers, MacNeil said. "Some were very upset and thought we had better things to do," he said.

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