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Five men arrested after reverse prostitution sting

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FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Five men were arrested in Florence County Tuesday evening after a reverse prostitution sting.

Captain Michael Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff's Office said a hotel that sits off US 52 called police asking for help alleviating a prostitution problem.

Captain Nunn said a female deputy went undercover on a popular website and posed as a prostitute. Captain Nunn said several people responded to the request. Five men were arrested at the hotel after verbally agreeing to exchange money for sex.

Kady Coffee used to stay in a hotel on US 52. She said she left because management wouldn't make an effort to clean up the crime problem.

"Stayed at a hotel on 52. Was there from October to about September of this year. The whole time I was there- prostitution, drugs, drunks from the bar," Coffee said.

Coffee said she wasn't surprised to hear about the prostitution bust Tuesday night. The bust didn't happen at the same hotel Coffee previously stayed.

Ramada Hotel Director of Sales Carina Tiepolt said she works fervently at keeping crime out of her hotel.

"When you start seeing people come out of rooms on a regular basis, I don't want to chasse my regular good customers away- corporate, business travelers, vacationers and stuff. People don't want to put up with stuff like that. We want to run a clean and decent hotel here," Tiepolt said.

Captain Nunn wouldn't say which hotel the sting happened at but did say the undercover deputy used a popular website to pose as a prostitute.

Tiepolt said she has seen people use the website "Backpage.com" to solicit sex for money at various hotels along US-52.

"They sometimes state the exit to come off of, where to go where they are or sometimes they'll even mention the hotel they're staying at," Tiepolt said.

But Tiepolt said she looks at Backpage.com often to ensure there aren't any solicitation involving the Ramada.

"we just want to make sure that our guests that come here feel safe and secure. With prostitution you don't know what you get," Tiepolt said.

All five men arrested and charged with prostitution were out on bond as of Wednesday evening.

According to the FCSO website, it was each of the offender's first offense at facing the sex/prostitution charge.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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