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September 29, 2023

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Police cite 8 people during prostitution sting

Law enforcement lured in eight people looking for love into a Bowling Green motel Saturday afternoon, citing them during a prostitution sting.

The Wood County Sheriff’s Office arrested eight people during the set up, which occurred throughout the day at the Victory Inn on East Wooster Street, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

“Prostitution is definitely an issue if we made eight arrests in one day,” said Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn.

Antonio Humphrey, 27, of Bowling Green; Virgil Cannon, 52, of Toledo; Charity Duncan, 22, of Toledo; Brittney Johnson, 27, of Toledo; Jessica Crowell, 23, of Toledo; Sheron Grace, 31, of Toledo; and Burgess Parker, 30, of Findlay, were arrested for solicitation-prostitution, while Dawn Wilder, 33, of Toledo, was cited for complicity to solicitation-prostitution.

The eight people were all charged with third-degree misdemeanors, which can result in a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, said Det. Chris Klewer.

Crowell was also arrested for a Sandusky County warrant and later transported to Sandusky County by a police officer, Klewer said.

The others were given a citation and a court summon, but none were taken to county jail, he said.

Of the eight people cited, four were prostituting, four were soliciting, Wasylyshyn said.

The reasons people may get involved with prostitution are “for money and drugs— pure survival, or you’re forced into it,” said Melissa Burek, associate professor of criminal justice at the University.

The sheriff’s office rented two rooms, from which it operated the sting, said Sam Rous, manager of the Victory Inn, who was said he was unaware of the set up.

Of the eight people cited, none had rented a room, Rous said. In the three years he has been manager, Rous said prostitution hasn’t occurred before.

Wasylyshyn said businesses usually cooperate and even donate rooms when law enforcement conducts a sting.

If there is a problem, however, they may just do the sting regardless of cooperation, he said.

In a prostitution sting, it is common for officers to pose as prostitutes or clients in order to make arrests, Wasylyshyn said.

The sheriff’s office set up the sting by visiting popular sex websites and creating posts that set up a time and location for people to meet, he said.

Of the 10 stings conducted throughout the county in 2012, 65 arrests were made, Wasylyshyn said.

Wasylyshyn believes these incidents are related to sex trafficking in Toledo.

“It’s all part of the same family, it feeds off itself,” he said.

Because of that possible connection, location is a factor to consider with these incidents.

Bowling Green’s proximity to Toledo can make it a spot for prostitution to occur, Burek said.

Regardless of the location, law enforcement looks for the bigger connections in each case.

When it comes to these types of stings, it can result in the arrest of a pimp, who typically manage prostitutes, Wasylyshyn said. If a pimp is arrested, he or she could be charged for a felony, he said.

The case is still under investigation and the sheriff’s office is checking for more leads, Klewer said.

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