ST­ING

The Covington News - - LOCAL -

Last year, there were even some re­ported cases of hu­man traf­fick­ing and un­der­age traf­fick­ing, where women were held against their will - some­thing the CPD had not seen re­ported be­fore.

Cony­ers Po­lice are un­der no il­lu­sions they’re go­ing to stop pros­ti­tu­tion. “We could do this ev­ery night and still get some­one com­ing in,” said Lt. Chris Moon.

But they want the mes­sage to be loud and clear to any johns think­ing of stop­ping by Cony­ers for crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity: Keep on mov­ing.

There are signs that mes­sage is get­ting out. Dur­ing pre­vi­ous stings, there were call­ers who nixed their plans as soon as they heard the meet­ing point was in Cony­ers.

So­cial me­dia sites are a big way pros­ti­tutes and johns con­nect. Un­der­cover of­fi­cers post fake ad­ver­tise­ments for sex­ual ser­vices. When cus­tomers re­spond and come to the spec­i­fied place, they are met with “Bob the Po­lice­man” in­stead of “Bambi,” as Chief of Po­lice Gene Wil­son likes to put it.

It’s close to the end of the work­day Wed­nes­day and it doesn’t take long for the first pan­der­ing sus­pect of the evening to come knock­ing.

An unas­sum­ing-look­ing 46-year-old Cony­ers man, Steven Man­ders, still wear­ing a work cap and shirt from Delta, looks at the sud­den swarm of of­fi­cers in the room. He steps back from the door. Of­fi­cers quickly re­trieve him and he faces them with quiet res­ig­na­tion.

He tells them this is his first time do­ing some­thing like this, some­thing of­fi­cers find hard to be­lieve. “I was go­ing for a mas­sage,” he of­fers fee­bly. “What if the pub­lic saw that ad,” asks a skep­ti­cal of­fi­cer. “Would they think that you were just go­ing for a mas­sage?” No an­swer. The sec­ond john is a younger man. A 27-year-old Stock­bridge res­i­dent, Ol­wal­abi Yusuf, also still dressed in his work clothes from Di­rect TV. He is frozen to the spot as the door swings open to re­veal a room full of of­fi­cers. Yusuf ex­changes a look with an of­fi­cer as he’s hand­cuffed. They check him for weapons and empty his pock­ets. A Tro­jan con­dom. $105 in cash. Wal­let. An­droid phone with a cracked screen.

“You made a bad de­ci­sion. Doesn’t make you a bad per­son,” says an of­fi­cer. “I knew it was a setup,” Yusuf mum­bles. He says he was given the phone num­ber by a friend. “And then what?” asks an of­fi­cer, ask­ing what he thought was go­ing to hap­pen.

The of­fi­cer asks about the phone call he had with a woman, who is ac­tu­ally an of­fi­cer act­ing un­der­cover in the next room. She gave him di­rec­tions; he told her he had $50 and big gen­i­talia. “Does it ring a bell?” the of­fi­cer asks. He is read his Miranda rights. He has his work truck with him. When of­fi­cers at­tempt to call Yusuf’s as­so­ciate to pick up the truck, they are blessed out by the as­so­ciate. The truck is im­pounded.

When asked why he came if he thought it was a set up, Yusuf puts his head be­tween his knees.

Both johns face a night in Rock­dale County Jail and a visit to the judge in the morn­ing for bond. Both are charged with pan­der­ing for sex­ual ser­vices, a mis­de­meanor of­fense.

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