Rude awakening for Grand Strand prostitutes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Rude awakening for Grand Strand prostitutes

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A number Grand Strand prostitutes offering their services to locals are getting a wake-up call by the Myrtle Beach Police Department, as cops go undercover as "anonymous customers."

The Myrtle Beach Police Department has arrested five women for prostitution since Christmas, and authorities say the golden key to finding these law offenders is the internet.

The golden website: CraigsList.com.

"Officers have different details that they do," said Capt. David Knipes of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. "One [detail] they came across is women who were putting ads on CraigsList.com in order to solicit for prostitution."

Police going undercover will solicit the woman through posts on CraigsList.com and arrange a meeting. When officers arrive to the designated hotel for their "meeting" with the alleged prostitute, the women are read their Miranda Rights and arrested.

The following women have been busted for soliciting sex in the Grand Strand Area since the end of December:

  • Megan Curtis, 46 - charged with prostitution on Dec. 31
  • Michelle Dean, 42 - charged with prostitution, possession of illegal weapons and a paraphernalia law violation
  • Jessica Hall, 33 - charged with prostitution
  • Judith O'Neal - charged with prostitution

Myrtle Beach police officials have told WMBF News that since things have slowed along Ocean Boulevard in the off-season, some officers have been able to focus on special assignments.

But police say they have come under some criticism.

"Some people may say that this isn't a serious crime and police have better things to do. Prostitution leads to drugs; drugs lead to robbery, larcenies, and different sorts of things," explained Knipes. "So, it's a broken glass theory. You try to clean up all the problems you can, especially in the winter when you have the extra time."

Police say they will continue to check on the ads through the winter.

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