Advertisement

Prostitution sting in city

Three men were charged with prostitution general during a nearly two-hour Hagerstown Police Department undercover operation.

Three men were charged with prostitution general during a nearly two-hour Hagerstown Police Department undercover operation.

July 20, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Martin Joe McDaniel nearly lost the stuffing from his bra as Hagerstown Police Department officers took him to the ground and placed him under arrest Wednesday.

McDaniel, 42, who was wearing a tan minidress with a black bow, and two other men were charged with prostitution general during a nearly two-hour Hagerstown Police Department undercover operation in the first block of North Prospect Street.

Herman Marshall Bartles, 81, of Falling Waters, W.Va., and Steven Louis Menard, 42, of Hagerstown, also were charged during the sting.

At about 9:30 a.m., an undercover female officer sat on a concrete wall facing St. Mary School, fidgeting with her hair and glancing over her shoulders. She wore short jean shorts, a tank top and flip-flops. A red sport utility vehicle slowly turned down the alley behind Holiday Motel, and the officer casually walked to the vehicle. She leaned into the car and spoke with the driver. But before the officer made a signal that a deal had been made, the driver pulled away.

Advertisement

Sgt. Kevin Simmers, supervisor of the department's Downtown Bike Squad and coordinator of Wednesday's sting, said there "has to be an agreement to exchange sex for money."

Entrapment occurs when "you entice somebody to do a crime they wouldn't ordinarily do," he said.

"Her standing on a corner is not inducement to commit a crime," Chief Arthur Smith said.

About 15 minutes after her first attempt, the officer signaled a deal. A silver car that already had passed slowed down and the driver talked with her. The officer, who said she has learned how prostitutes conduct business from watching them on the streets, leaned in to talk with the man, who pulled his car behind St. Mary Catholic Church. The officer gave the signal for Simmers and Officer Martin Pitsnogle to move in.

The man they pulled out of the driver's seat was Bartles, a white-haired man with glasses. He shuffled his feet as he was led to a cruiser.

After about a 15-minute break to arrest Bartles and take him to police headquarters a couple of blocks away, the officer took her spot again beside Holiday Motel.

Within minutes, a green Chevrolet Astro van stopped in front of the officer. The driver pulled the van behind the motel and the officer made her signal. She also signaled that the man might have a weapon.

"Why?" McDaniel screamed as officers approached him and began to get him out of the van.

"She was asking me the time. I didn't do nothing," he screamed as he was taken to the ground.

Menard walked up the alley toward the officer and the two began talking. The officer gave her signal and they began walking north on North Prospect Street. She signaled a deal and the uniformed officers moved in.

Simmers said the third arrest marked the close of the sting because it would take about four hours to process the men arrested and there wasn't enough manpower to handle more arrests. He said that if the county had a central booking department that would cut back on the time for officers to make arrests, the sting would have lasted longer.

All three men Wednesday were brought before a District Court commissioner and released on personal recognizance, Simmers said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|