Sting targets increasing prostitution
Police plan more operations after arresting 11 Bay Area residents
Published: Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 7:23 p.m.
A slight but growing trend in prostitution-related incidents in Petaluma triggered a sting on May 1 in which 11 people from Bay Area cities were arrested, and police intend to implement additional operations to address the situation.
“We have seen a sporadic trend, and it has been increasingly lately,” said Lt. Tim Lyons of the Petaluma Police Department. “Typically, incidents are occurring on the north side of Petaluma.”
The arrests on May 1 were made at a motel on the north end of Petaluma. Police officers had contacted people who placed online advertisements for illegal prostitution services on craigslist.org, lovings.com and other Internet Web sites, and then made arrangements to meet them at an undisclosed, local motel between noon and 10 p.m.
Once the suspects arrived at the location and solicited the officers for sexual acts in exchange for money, they were arrested and booked at Sonoma County Jail.
Police arrested Amy Cummings, 22, of Oakland; Tiaka Ray, 22, of Marin City; Laura Burnett, 29, of Benicia; and Kathy Nevis, 45, of Novato for soliciting prostitution.
Robert Carter, 34, of Oakland; Damien Trammell, 29, of Marin City; Steven Jensen, 57, of Santa Rosa; and David Brown, 29, of Santa Rosa were nabbed for aiding another person in the commission of prostitution.
Cherith Buck, 24, of Santa Rosa was arrested for soliciting prostitution and possession of narcotics without a prescription; Andrew Hampton, 25, of Vallejo, was nabbed for aiding another person in the commission of prostitution and for a parole violation; and Soeub Say, 26, of Oakland was arrested for soliciting prostitution and possession of methamphetamine.
Eight police officers worked on the sting, either making telephone calls on May 1 at the police office or making arrests at the motel.
The sting was the first of several similar operations planned by the Petaluma Police Department to discourage prostitution activity in Petaluma.
“In the operation on Thursday, we tried to entice people to come to the location. In the future, we might go to their places,” Lyons said.
Most of the recent prostitution-related incidents have occurred at the motels on the north side of Petaluma — Dollar Inn, Motel 6 and Quality Inn — he said.
On March 30, Merl Simpson Jr. was arrested at the Quality Inn for two felonies — possession of a controlled substance and pimping. Two Petaluma men, ages 19 and 40, were arrested for misdemeanor prostitution in the incident.
“A few more incidents have been reported recently at other motels,” Lyons said.
Prior to the recent incidents, the most recent prostitution arrest in Petaluma was made on Oct. 5, 2005 during a sting at a Golden Spa massage parlor at 699 Petaluma Blvd. North, where Hong Tran, then 47, was nabbed after soliciting an undercover detective for a sexual act.
On March 23, 2005, Hong Hue Thi Collins, then 54, was arrested at the same place, then known as Lily Rose Spa, for offering to perform a sexual act on an undercover detective.
In the mid-1900s, “The Green House” in Petaluma was widely known as a brothel, and generally was tolerated by the community until it was shut down in the 1960s.
(Contact Dan Johnson at email@example.com)
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