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Prostitution Sting Nets More Than 20 Arrests

June 2, 2008
By GABE WELLS Staff Writer

A prostitution sting that netted more than 20 arrests in recent days was prompted by the complaints of residents and business owners in two city communities, Wheeling Police Chief Kevin Gessler said today.

As part of a multi-day, “directed patrol mission” to combat city nuisances, five Wheeling women and one Martins Ferry woman were arrested last week for prostitution. As part of the same law-enforcement effort, Gessler said 11 men were arrested Saturday and early Sunday for solicitation after several of the city’s female officers posed as prostitutes in city neighborhoods. Today, Gessler stressed the need for the sting operation.

According to information released by the Wheeling Police Department, the “directed-patrol missions” included the enforcement of laws prohibiting open alcohol containers, trespassing, littering, public urination, excessive noise, disorderly conduct, gambling, obstructing traffic, obstructing sidewalks, drugs and juvenile curfew laws.

In addition to the arrests related to alleged prostitution, a Wheeling man was arrested for petit larceny for allegedly breaking into a vending machine. Two other Wheeling men were charged for having open beers in public. Gessler said such police efforts will continue throughout the city. He described the operation as a “proactive approach” to prevent crime and other associated problems before they occur.

Fact Box

Prostitution Sting Arrests
Arrested for Prostitution were:
Marci Grubba, 47, of Wheeling — Arrested in the 1500 block of Market Street
Chassette Arno, 31, of Wheeling —
Arrested in the 1400 block of Market Street
Bobbi Dennis, 24, of Wheeling — Arrested in Lane 13 between Wood and Jacob streets
Leona Tanner, 32, of Wheeling — Arrested near the intersection of 16th and Eoff streets
Beth Ann Davis, 24, of Wheeling —
Arrested near 33rd and Chapline streets
Lourena Lynn McWhorter, 24, of Martins Ferry — Arrested near Eoff Street and Lane 15
Arrested for Soliciting for Prostitution were:
Larry Allen Starkey, 48, of Martins Ferry — Arrested near 1600 Main St
Danny Lee Camerlin, 51, of Triadelphia — Arrested near 16th and Main streets
Roger W. Lagowski, 45, of Shadyside — Arrested near South Street at 16th Street
Walter Ohl, 59, of Burgettstown, Pa. — Arrested on Main Street
Robert Timothy Hogan, 26, of Uniontown, Pa. —Arrested on Market Street near 21st Street
Robert W. Szatkowski, 62, of Pittsburgh — Arrested near 16th and South streets
Michael Don Harrigan, 45, of Moundsville — Arrested in Downtown Wheeling
Joshua Boyd, 22, of Triadelphia —
Arrested near 21st Street at Main Street
Jackie Laughtery, 47, of Powhatan Point — Arrested near 14th and Main streets
William Robert Herman, 32, of Wheeling — Arrested near 16th and South streets
Edward L Gallaher, 35, of Wheeling — Arrested near 16th and Main streets
Nuisance arrests:
Albert Whitzell, 43, of Wheeling —
Arrested when trying of break into vending machines in the 2100 Block of Main Street.
Darl McHenry, 46, of Wheeling — Open Beer in Public at West Virginia
Independence Hall
Gary Bengiman, 48, of Wheeling — Open Beer in Public at West Virginia Independence Hall.

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