EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFive Women Facing Charges Following Huntington Prostitution Sting
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported: Mar. 7, 2014 10:58 AM EST
Updated: Mar. 7, 2014 11:30 PM EST
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Tiersa Davis, Darrah Wilcox)-- The Huntington Police Department arrested five women in connection to a prostitution sting on Thursday.
Tammy Eagle, 44, Crystal Hardy, 30, and Celeste Pierce, 35, all of Huntington were charged with third-offense prostitution. Jessica Hinkle, 27, and Sabrina Morrision, 43, both of Huntington were charged with first-offense prostitution, which is a misdemeanor.
Sara Simmons owns Sara's Salon along Sixth Avenue in Huntington, and she says she's fed up with the prostitution in the neighborhood.
"It does go on year round," she said.
She said she doesn't hesitate to call police when she sees it near her business.
"If it's real bad then I do call police, because I'm fearful of people in the area and of maybe who's going to stop and pick them up," Simmons said.
It's multiple tips from neighbors and business owners that prompted a prostitution sting Thursday night.
Huntington Police Captain Rocky Johnson said the neighbors and the business owners in the area are "pretty much just sick and tired."
"(They're) tired of looking at that in front of their business so they've been calling our tip line," he said.
The Huntington Police Department's Special Emphasis Unit and an undercover trooper from the West Virginia State Police conducted the sting Thursday evening on Sixth Avenue between First and Sixth streets. Police said the operation began after they received several complaints from residents and businesses in the area. Police said each of the suspects approached an undercover office and offered sex acts for money.
Police believe the warm weather brought on the increase in the amount of prostitution. Police plan to continue the undercover stings as spring approaches.
"It is important. I like to know that I'm in a safe area, safe neighborhood, and it kind of takes away from your business and your neighborhood when they're out walking and you know what's happening," Simmons said.
Simmons said she's glad the group effort of persistence is paying off. "I am grateful to the police for paying more attention to it," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Huntington Police Department's tip line at 304-696-4444.
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