Macedonia -- Police say they are cracking down on prostitution at area hotels, where they say they have made arrests in nine cases this year.

Police Lt. Vince Yakopovich said the detective bureau doesn't have the staff to catch every single case, but added police are attempting to put a stop to these crimes.

"You don't want to see this in your community," Yakopovich said. "We always try to take the time and say, 'Hey, drop what you are doing and let's go.'"

Yakopovich said the department has made arrests in nine cases at the Motel 6, Days Inn and La Quinta Inn on Highland Road this year.

Local motels are cooperating for the most part, Yakopovich told the News Leader. He said when police were gearing up for an undercover operation, they received a call from a manager at La Quinta Inn stating they "need help and think there's a prostitute working in their hotel."

Yakopovich said hotels also provide video footage and any other information they can to assist.

A representative from Days Inn declined to comment for this story.

A representative from Motel 6 did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time.

La Quinta Inn referred calls to a corporate office. A spokesperson contacted the newspaper, but did not call back to comment by press time.

Police are in the process of prosecuting two cases they say undercover operations halted over the past two months.

Both arrests came after undercover police responded to Internet advertisements on the website backpage.com.

In the first case, Kent resident Katie Galloway, 24, was arrested Sept. 16 at La Quinta Inn for soliciting after an undercover police officer responded to an ad.

Galloway gave her sister's name to police and claimed to be her own sister, Yakopovich said, adding she continued to claim that she was her sister and was booked under the false identity charge.

He said she even told the judge she was her sister when she was arraigned Sept. 19 in front of Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover, resulting in felony charges for falsification and forgery.

Police say they also found heroin and syringes in her possession during their bust.

Galloway pleaded not guilty to tampering with records, identity fraud, forgery, solicitation and possessing drug abuse instruments at her arraignment Nov. 19 at the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. She is in the Summit County Jail. Bail has been set at 10 percent of $25,000.

In the second case, Macedonia police arrested Cassandra Schultz, a 23-year-old East Palestine woman, and her alleged pimp Dwayne Hightower, a 24-year-old Aurora man, Nov. 6 at the Days Inn on charges related to prostitution.

In that case, Yakopovich said police set up a similar sting that led to Schultz's and Hightower's arrests. Yakopovich said the pair were living at Motel 6 for two days before moving to Days Inn.

Schultz pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting Nov. 10 in Stow Municipal Court. Hightower faces felony charges of promoting prostitution. His case is in Summit County Common Pleas Court, where a grand jury is reviewing charges against him. He has not yet been indicted.

Yakopovich said police believe Hightower was acting as "pimp" for Schultz and another woman.

"We found what he referred to as his business plan, it was a notebook that he had written out," Yakopovich said. "It went over every aspect of the business, advertising, profit sharing, webcam use, rates, hours and all kinds of services provided."

He said the second woman was not arrested as she was not working in Macedonia, but was being advertised in another area.

Though the number of cases is not high, Yakopovich said soliciting is happening more often than is acceptable.

He added with no big tourist attractions the hotels that were once bustling now don't have the business they once had.

"When Sea World and Geauga Lake were open, those hotels were filled with families all through the summer," he said. "Now, with no real draw, with Sea World and Geauga Lake closed, those hotels, year round don't have a clientele of a business nature or of a family nature."

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432

bbarker@recordpub.com

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