Back Page Ads Prompt Police Stings
The Weatherford Democrat published an article about a prostitution sting that netted five arrests this week, and police shared credit with Fort Worth Weekly…kind of.
The Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit said they busted three suspected prostitutes and two suspected pimps by calling numbers listed on advertisements in the Weekly’s back pages.
Police search for the word “escort.”
“We know from doing several prostitution stings, they advertise on Fort Worth Weekly and Backpage.com as escorts,” said police Sgt. James Peel.
Police officers sometimes call the numbers, hire escorts, and ask to meet at a motel room.
“When they show up we’ll ask them, ‘What’s the cost?’ ” Peel said. “They say, ‘For this type of sex it’s this much, and for that kind of sex it’s that much.’ ”
Once an escort specifies a dollar amount for a specific sex act, the undercover cop makes the arrest.
“They’ll show up and usually have their pimp sit out in the car while they come up to the room and make the deal,” Peel said.
Police say this type of sting is a proactive method of scaring prostitutes away from Weatherford’s city limits. Prostitution and drugs often go together, Peel said.
“It’s not like we’re getting inundated with prostitutes in Weatherford, but every now and then we like to do these stings so they’ll get in the paper and let everybody know we’re watching,” he said.
Fort Worth cops do the same thing.
Most people buying the ads are savvy and know when they’re being played. Years ago, I wrote a story about our sex ads, and I called a woman named Temptress, whose ad said she would “satisfy you in any way you want.”
“Hi, I saw your ad and was wondering what kind of services you offer,” I said.
“I offer full service for $150 cash,” she said.
“What is included in full service?” I asked.
“I have to go, sweetie,” she said and and hung up.
The Weekly doesn’t accept ads from clients who say upfront that they are providing an illegal service.
But escort services are legal. So are massages. If people decide later to cross the line into illegal activity, that’s between them, their conscience, and the police.
The Weekly isn’t the police.