WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Warren police picked up four suspects Wednesday night, believed to have been soliciting prostitution.
The city is being proactive as it focuses on cleaning up a troublesome part of town which police call “Area 51.”
“Obviously, it was known that was an area where prostitution was somewhat prevalent and almost wide open, and we needed to get there and show the citizens we’re listening to them, we hear what they’re saying, and we’re going to be proactive about this.”
Complaints about women walking around and flagging down cars have been coming in from the area on Warren’s northeast side.
“They hang out a lot by the bike path. It’s a quick escape route. Whenever they see the cops, they can just run and hide,” said Warren resident Jonathan Rivera.
The Street Crimes Unit went undercover for the operation. Officers drove along South Street SE and made contact with women along the road.
“Nod, or wave a hand, or turn around and give him a look as he went by,” said Warren Law Director Greg Hicks. “They would turn around or come back and talk to them, they would come to the car window, they would engage in conversation that eventually led up to that. They would offer sex for money.”
Those conversations were recorded on audio and video.
Arrested and booked into Trumbull County Jail as a result of this operation were:
- Jessica Marie Buzzelli, 35, of Warren
- Gladys Ann Postlethwait, 44, of Leavittsburg
- Billie Jo Williams, 32, of Warren
- Hope Marie Cline, 33, of Leavittsburg
They are each charged with soliciting.
Cline posted bond and was released from jail, while the other three suspects will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Warren Municipal Court.
The city requested that each woman undergo health testing as part of their condition for release on bond.
The northeast side of the city hopes it will lead to a big change.
“Just makes me feel more comfortable. It’s less people driving traffic up here, slowly pacing by,” Rivera said.
Residents passed a levy allowing the city to hire additional officers.
It wants to clean up the streets and improve its reputation. This bust may be just the beginning.
“With additional officers, we’re going to be more proactive, have more sweeps like this — both for drugs, as well as sex,” Hicks said. “We’re going to continue pressing on to make this a better, safer community for all.”