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A lengthy undercover prostitution investigation culminated in the charges after officers targeted men seeking prostitutes in the downtown area. The suspects, more than half of whom do not reside in Belleville, range in age from 35 to The numbers, he said, speak for themselves. I never would have thought the numbers would have been as high as they are. The first charge, he said, was laid just before the supper hour on Thursday.
Downtown business owner Mike Malachowski said he was not aware Belleville has a problem with prostitution. Releasing the names of the 14 men, however, was not a decision made lightly. VandeGraaf said there was discussion among police staff about whether those names would be made public but, due to the nature of the charges, it was agreed their identities would be released to local media.
It is clear we do believe that as we do these types of operations rarely and, given the numbers, we felt it was important. The owner of Funk N Gruven on Bridge Street said releasing names could mean fewer people will engage in the activity of prostitution. He said if those charged know their names will be made available to the public it should stem the flow of activity.
VandeGraaf said while the most recent operation focussed on the men and not the women selling the service, a further investigation into the supply side of prostitution could also happen. Each man has been charged and released with a court date of Oct. The 14 men are: Stephen Doxtator, 58, Ameliasburgh.