The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

August 9, 2012

Prostitution sting nabs one dozen

BECKLEY — A dozen people have been arrested for soliciting prostitution after Beckley Police launched an investigation after receiving numerous complaints from concerned citizens, Capt. Jeff Shumate explained.

Multiple undercover stings have taken place over the past month, targeting both the women offering the sexual services, as well as the men willing to pay for them, Shumate said.

Six men and six women were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution, a municipal charge punishable only by fines for a first offense, after police conducted investigations in the areas of Second Avenue, Johnstown Road and Raleigh Hill, as well as Earwood, South Heber, South Fayette and Kanawha streets, the captain said.

The men charged are Richard K. Mills, 48, of Sophia; Raymond V. Edmonds, 41, of Raleigh; Dennis L. Adkins, 39, of Beckley; John D. Fuller, 71, of Daniels; Ronald E. Dunn, 56, of Beckley; and Timothy P. Smith, 31, of Beckley.

The women charged over the course of the stings are Beckley residents Tammy L. Lloyd, 33; Lisa M. Farmer, 48; Deanna K. Straub, 43; Jamie L. Allison, 29; and Kelly D. Garner, 35.

An active warrant for Bridget R. Sizemore, 37, of Beckley, has been issued and police ask anyone with information on Sizemore to call police at 304-256-1708 or Crime Stoppers at 304-255-7867.

Shumate explained these investigations, which are continuing, originated from complaints from citizens who had observed activity they believed to be soliciting prostitution or criminal in nature.

“We used a confidential informant and fit them with a recording device. We would then go to the areas where the complaints had been received and had decoys stand in the area. Once an interested person made contact with our informant, they had to bring up the topic of performing sexual acts for monetary compensation, because otherwise it would be considered entrapment,” Shumate explained.

Although arresting the women responsible for prostituting themselves seems like common sense, Shumate said the johns are also targeted in an attempt to curb the growing demand.

“What we want is voluntary compliance and we hope we can get that through this. If there aren’t people out there who would partake in the prostitution trade, then the demand would go away causing the supply to dry up — and that is why we target the johns.

“This type of behavior creates a number of concerns,” he continued. “Whenever this type of activity is going on, you tend to see an increase in property crimes, and there is always a large correlation between prostitution and drug addiction.”

Shumate said the department would continue to aggressively combat the growing issue and asked anyone with any information regarding prostitution or any criminal activity to contact police at 304-256-1708, or Crime Stoppers at 304-255-7867.

— E-mail: kvanpelt@register-herald.com

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