LIMA — A patrolman’s observations led to last weekend’s prostitution sting in Lima that involved the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Task Force out of Toledo.
Lima Police Investigator Dave Gillispie, who serves on the task force, said Patrolman Nick Hart spearheaded the effort, which also involved the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.
Four women were arrested for soliciting after seeking customers, or “johns” to pay for sex. One woman, seven men and a 17-year-old boy were arrested for seeking a prostitute’s services. The arrests were made between 8 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Sunday in the area of Main and Kibby streets.
Most were charged with loitering to engage in solicitation and solicitation. Other charges included intoxication and interfering with traffic. One suspect, Raoul B. Wright, of Lima, may face federal charges, the investigator said.
Hart’s concerns led to the sting. The FBI task force was involved because of concerns about children being used as prostitutes, as has happened elsewhere in the county, Gillispie said.
“Right now it’s general prostitution but what we are finding is there are pimps, or people we would consider to be pimps, who are actively recruiting girls and they’re not really concerned with their ages,” he said. “There’s no pimps right now that are targeting juveniles as prostitutes, but they’re not pushing [them] away either.”
Gillispie said he hopes the recent arrests will deter further activity. He said for every person arrested, four more people were observed but not arrested because the evidence wasn’t as strong as police officers would have liked.
While the activity took place in Lima, Gillispie said most of the customers were from outside the area, including at least one from out of state.
“It is quite amazing to see the number and the license plates of the people showing up to engage in these acts,” he said.