Conyers Police Department Lt. Chris Moon, left, and Detective Vance Strawn apprehend a man Tuesday at a local hotel during an undercover prostitution sting operation. This is the third such operation conducted by the CPD since February. (Staff photo: Aimee Jones)
CONYERS — In its third undercover sting operation in recent weeks, the Conyers Police Department arrested four more people, including two from Newton County, on pandering and related charges Tuesday. In the process, police learned that the word seems to be out that Conyers is cracking down on prostitution.
Investigators with the CPD created a profile on the social media site, Backpage.com, which is a site commonly used by prostitutes. Within about 30 minutes of setting up the page, the detective assigned to act as the “prostitute” on the phone started receiving calls. However, a number of prospective customers, or johns, who called the number became hesitant when they were told to meet at a hotel in Conyers.
“Conyers is hot right now. They’re doing that sting,” one male caller said.
At least three others expressed the same concern, and some prospective johns asked if the “prostitute” could come to their home instead.
“This is ultimately our goal,” said CPD Officer Kim Lucas. “We want people to know not to bring this kind of business to Conyers.”
Even so, the number of calls began to pick up later in the afternoon, and sometime around 5 p.m. the first john was given directions to the hotel. As he got closer, he called again and was given the room number.
Investigators were positioned by the door and when the man knocked on the door, they opened it and yelled, “Police!”
The man attempted to run, but officers quickly apprehended him and brought him inside the room, where he was searched and then escorted to an adjoining room where he was read his rights and waited while officers processed his belongings, including a large amount of cash.
Soon, a second man knocked on the door. He, too, was apprehended and brought to the adjoining room.
A few minutes later, a third john knocked on the door. As he was being arrested, he hung his head, saying, “Oh, goodness.”
Officers recovered from him cash, a pipe commonly used to smoke drugs, a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and a drug believed to be MDMA, commonly known as “molly.” Officers searching his car also reportedly found some ammunition, a wedding ring and a child safety seat.
Earlier in March, the CPD arrested six individuals in an undercover sting operation, and in February, the CPD and Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office joined forces and conducted an undercover sting operation at another local hotel. That sting resulted in the arrests of six people, including two prostitutes, two johns, a pimp and a woman found with drugs who was in the car with the young son of one of the alleged prostitutes.
The four people arrested during Tuesday’s sting were:
• Anrecus Bradley, 34, of 70 Flat Rock Road, Oxford, charged with pandering, possession of crack cocaine and possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce;
• Mario Moreno, 29, of 7578 Pleasant Hill Road, Lithonia, charged with pandering and driving while unlicensed;
• Ryan Alan Bunder, 32, of 15 McIntosh Overlook, Sharpsburg, charged with pandering, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce and possession of a controlled substance (MDMA); and
• Richard Tomlinson, 22, of 11405 Brown Bridge Road, Covington, charged with pandering.