11 'escorts' booked in vice sting

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

NORCROSS — They descended on Norcross from across metro Atlanta, from Lithonia to Marietta, allegedly attracted by the promise of sex for profit.

And then they all went to jail.

Norcross police conducted a sting Saturday to crackdown on illegal escort services who advertise widely as providing services to the city, said Norcross police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr.

All told, 11 people were issued citations for either solicitation for prostitution or permit ordinance violations. Harr said he believed all were female.

Jail records indicate the sting was the largest involving purported escort services in at least a year.

The vice operation set up shop in a home at an undisclosed location off Beaver Ruin Road. Officers reached out to services they saw advertised online and in the back pages of print publications, asking that escorts be sent to the home. Once sex was offered for money, the 11 suspects were arrested, one by one, Harr said.

Arrest records indicate the suspects were from Atlanta, College Park, Decatur, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Marietta, Smyrna and Snellville.

“We knew exactly who we were targeting,” Harr said. “We monitor those publications, if they’re advertising in Norcross, and we do keep a check on that. It’s just part of our intelligence gathering.”

Norcross, like Gwinnett County, issues regulated business permits for escort services used to connect people interested in dating. The services become illegal when business transactions involve sex, Harr said.

“I guess the normal street walkers have gone high-tech,” he said. “By the time word of mouth spreads, I don’t think Norcross will be a place for these people to come and operate. That’s what our target is ... to move these people outside of the city.”