Police net two felons in prostitution sting

A joint sting operation by Bellevue Police and the King County Sheriff's Office to address complaints about increased prostitution at area hotels led to the arrest of one man alleged to have committed 16 robberies in the Puget Sound region and another man accused of being a prolific identity thief.

Focusing on reducing demand in sex trafficking, detectives posted online ads for prostitution services to draw in men seeking adult and underage prostitutes, according to a BPD news release. Thirty Bellevue officers and sheriff's deputies participated in the sting operation over the weekend of March 26, which netted 10 arrests.

Among them was a 24-year-old Seattle man who agreed to meet an undercover detective posing as a prostitute at a Bellevue hotel. Officers observed the man in the parking lot and arrested him after he was identified as being possibly armed.

Police report the man admitted he planned to use a black airsoft pistol and fixed-blade knife found on his person to rob the undercover officer and later to 16 additional robberies in the Puget Sound region over the past four months. He was booked into the King County Jail for first-degree robbery and is being held on $500,000 bail.

Police arrested another 24-year-old Lynwood man at the hotel, who reportedly provided officers with a stolen ID, assaulted an officer and attempted to run away in handcuffs. He was booked into the King County Jail and is being held on $100,000 bail pending charges.

He is reportedly suspected of committing several felonies in the Puget Sound area, including eluding officers in a stolen vehicle and a number of identity theft cases.

“This operation demonstrates that prostitution is not a victimless crime, and is often associated with other criminal activity, including dangerous felonies," said Bellevue Police Lt. Lisa Patricelli in a statement. "Because of this operation, two dangerous felons are off our streets.”


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