A Coon Rapids Police Department prostitution sting operation netted seven suspects Nov. 15.
“This was a proactive move to solve a problem,” said Capt. John Hattstrom, Coon Rapids Police.
There was concern that recent prostitution sting operations by Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park police departments had shifted the prostitution rings across the river to Coon Rapids, according to Hattstrom.
“We wanted to send a message that they aren’t welcome here,” Hattstrom said.
The police department placed a false advertisement on the Backpage online website and set up the sting operation at a Coon Rapids motel with the full cooperation of the motel staff, he said.
Some 10 Coon Rapids officers were involved, both uniform and plain clothes, including a female officer working undercover, Hattstrom said.
Six men and one woman were arrested, jailed, then booked and released with a court date on gross misdemeanor engaging in prostitution charges, according to Hattstrom.
Before the first court appearance, the Coon Rapids City Attorney’s Office will be filing a formal gross misdemeanor charge against each suspect, Hattstrom said.
The suspects’ ages range from 51 to 21, according to Anoka County Jail records. They came from all over the Twin Cities area.
Hattstrom was “very pleased” with the success of the sting operation, he said.
“It helped send out a message,” Hattstrom said.
This is the first time the police department has conducted a prostitution sting operation as far as he knows, Hattstrom said.
But more random, sting operations can be expected in the department’s pro-active enforcement policy, according to Hattstrom.
Prostitution can quite often involve robbery, assault and drug offenses as well, Hattstrom said.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]