Cranberry police arrested six people Wednesday in a overnight prostitution sting. None of those arrested during the bust, including five women and one man, is a Cranberry resident.
According to police, officers contacted individuals throughout the day Wednesday via online sex-for-money Web sites. The officers arranged meetings with these individuals that evening at the .
Police said it took only hours to arrange several rendezvous.
“Contact was made with numerous individuals who then met with undercover officers and agreed to perform sexual acts in exchange for money,” Cranberry police said Thursday. “The location of major highways coupled with numerous hotels makes it an area where this type of activity is likely."
While local police concede that they have seen an rise in reports of prostitution in recent months, they were quick to stress that this bust was not in response to a prostitution "problem" but was instead a “proactive measure.”
"There was a rash of reports about a month ago...and several arrests earlier this year," said Cranberry police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino. "We started to see an increase in calls related to it; that’s why we took the proactive step so that the word will get out there—we’re going to make arrests."
Mascellino also said the Holiday Inn Express was not chosen as the sting location because prostitution has been reported there in the past.
"This hotel is not a hot spot...We haven't had any reports [of prostitution] at that hotel," he said. "We have at other hotels."
These people were arrested and charged with crimes including promoting prostitution, criminal conspiracy, criminal use of a communication facility, possessing instruments of a crime and prostitution:
- Waylon Brown, Pittsburgh
- Tara Wolfe, New Kensington
- Amber Bonnoni, Natrona Heights
- Sherrie Cogley, Sarver
- Nachell Colemen, Duquesne
- Danielle Tabb, Homestead
Those arrested were transfered to the Butler County Jail.
Cranberry police conducted the investigation with the Monroeville and Moon police departments. This is the first prostitution sting operation that Cranberry police have conducted.