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Walker prostitution sting nabs three over the internet

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Posted: Mar 26, 2012 5:50 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Mar 26, 2012 6:34 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: WALKER, PROSTITUTION, BUST, INTERNET, MICHAEL, SHINGLETON, WBRZ

WALKER - These days, police say, you can but a whole lot more than clothing and electronics on the Internet. Walker Police Chief Hunter Grimes said the web is just another avenue they must police.

"It's called backpage.com," Grimes said.

It's on that website that hundreds of escorts, as they're called, post a name, number and location. Then buyers search the site, find what they like, make the call, and set up a meeting. Last week, police used that to their advantage.

"What we did was put an undercover [officer] in an undisclosed location where he could be monitored, and he would start calling females on the site that are in the Walker area," Grimes said.

Most pages on the site do not directly advertise for sex. That's why Walker PD set up the sting.

"We were able to contact them, have communication on the phone, they then arrived at our undisclosed location, then met, the two had a conversation, and once the conversation got to the point that there was enough probable cause to make an arrest, we made the arrest," Grimes said.

This was the first prostitution sting Walker Police has ever conducted, and Grimes said, since the call volume was so high, it won't be the last.

"We could have do it all night long. It was amazing the number of phone calls that were coming in. We're going to be aggressive. We're going to continue to deal with this, and, like I said, we are going to put people in jail over this," Grimes said.

ORIGINAL:

WALKER - Police in Walker arrested three women they said were caught in an undercover sting operation targeting prostitutes.

Chief Hunter Grimes said Deanna Marie Fortner, 20, Liberty Michelli, 35, and Ashley Louise Jolivette, 23, were arrested Friday at an undisclosed location in Walker for soliciting prostitution.

Grimes said investigators were recently told about online ads for "dates" or "escort" services that were obviously sexual in nature. The ads offered services out of Baton Rouge, and said traveling to Livingston Parish wasn't a problem.

He said Walker Police worked with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police to develop the sting operation. Officers set up "dates" through the website, and when the women arrived they were arrested once investigators determined they were there for prostitution.

All three women were given misdemeanor summonses. Investigators found Fortner had outstanding warrants from Livingston Parish for worthless checks and unauthorized use of a vehicle, and arrested her on those charges. The other two women were released.

News 2's Michael Shingleton will have more on this investigation tonight at 6 p.m.

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