Six arrested in Seaford prostitution undercover sting

 

SEAFORD — Authorities were vague about their strategy but clear on the results.

An eight-hour undercover prostitution sting Tuesday brought six arrests and the seizure of a shotgun and drugs, Seaford Police reported.

Spokesman Lt. Glenn Van Fleet said detectives “tried to do something different” with a “first time operation” between 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. “in the area of motels in Seaford.”

Citing the potential for future similar operations, police opted not to disclose their methods and possibly alert other would-be patrons. Lt. Van Fleet did say, however, that publicizing the arrests could dissuade others from seeking sex for money or vice versa.

Seaford Police have conducted numerous prostitution stings over past years, involving open air markets and building locations, authorities said.

“We will continue to monitor these type activities and respond when necessary,” Lt. Van Fleet said.

No arrests for prostitution were made, only patronizing a prostitute.

“Obviously, any type of prostitution in Seaford sullies the reputation of the city,” Lt. Van Fleet said. “It’s unhealthy and as negative an activity as drugs or anything else.”

The Dover Police Department and Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security assisted in the operation, and Seaford Police said they will assist Dover in its upcoming enforcement efforts.

“We will take any help we can get from other agencies,” Lt. Van Fleet said. “We’ve developed a good relationship with Dover and working together compounds our ability to get the job done.”

 

Arrestees included:

•Jacob Brown, 22, of Pittsville, Maryland, possession of marijuana (10 grams), possession of drug paraphernalia and patronizing a prostitute. Released on $1,100 unsecured bond.

•Kenneth Jones, 47, of Seaford, patronizing a prostitute. Released on $500 unsecured bond.

•Richard Bergstrazer, 47, of Seaford, patronizing a prostitute. Released on $500 unsecured bond.

•Bruce Harmon, 52, of Bridgeville, patronizing a prostitute. Released on $500 unsecured bond.

•Michael Rifenburg, 51, of Seaford, patronizing a prostitute. Released on $500 unsecured bond.

•Keith Layton Jr., 36, of Milford, possession of a firearm and/or ammunition by a person prohibited (two counts), possession of a controlled substance (.8 grams of Methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia (two counts), patronizing a prostitute. Released on $21,000 unsecured bond.

According to Delaware Code, patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor with a minimum mandatory fine of $500 that shall not be suspended. The fine is $1,000 if the class A misdemeanor has occurred on or within 1,000 feet of the property of any school, residence, church, synagogue or other place of worship.

A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute when:

(1) Pursuant to a prior agreement or understanding, the person pays a fee to another person as compensation for that person’s having engaged in sexual conduct with the person; or

(2) The person pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an agreement or understanding that in return therefor that person or a third person will engage in sexual conduct with the person; or

(3) The person solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with the person in return for a fee.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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