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Bradenton police online prostitution sting nets 4 at hotel

BRADENTON — A woman with short dark hair reaches behind her neck posing as if she is going to remove a bikini top in front of what appears to be a hotel room door.

“We can cook, clean, have a night out on the town or just spend a quiet evening together,” begins an adult services ad on the Craigslist classified ad Web site.

Her name is Tina. She is 26 with brown hair and blue eyes, according to the ad.

And for $100 you get to enjoy her company for a half hour, according to the ad.

This was just one of several Craigslist ads Bradenton Police Department detectives responded to as part of a prostitution sting in which four women were arrested Thursday afternoon.

In real life, the woman is a 28-year-old Bradenton woman, and her name isn’t Tina.

When an undercover detective called and met her at the Holiday Inn Express, 4450 47th St. W., she agreed to perform oral sex for $150, according to the arrest report.

She was immediately arrested by several investigators who had been monitoring the transaction with hidden video and audio equipment, according to the report.

On Friday afternoon, there were about 50 ads on Craigslist for the Sarasota/Bradenton adult services heading.

Some of them were duplicated ads.

Some of the ads detectives responded to had already been removed.

“There’s no way to know for sure, but based on all the ads on Craiglist and in our community, it appears to be widespread,” said Bradenton Police Department Detective Lt. John Affolter.

The ads, which are often carefully worded, are not enough to arrest the women, he said.

Detectives called and set up meetings at the hotel and arrested the women only after they requested money in exchange for a sex act, Affolter said.

“It’s just that it’s become so blatant. There’s been stories in other communities across the nation,” said Affolter when asked about the prevalence of online sexual solicitation.

“A couple of weeks ago they said they were going to remove the personals. Obviously, they are aware there’s a situation.”

Last month, Craiglist made a move to remove its erotic services heading and has since opened the section called “adult services.”

Ads are manually reviewed before appearing online for a fee of $10, according to the company’s blog.

The fees are directed to go to charity, according to the blog.

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