Chattanooga prostitution sting leads to arrests

Chattanooga police pulled off two sting operations last night.
What’s called “a street and reverse prostitution sting” nabbed six women and five men in East Lake and Highland Park areas.

The offenders are repeats…and police say it’s all part of ongoing efforts to fight crime.
Chattanooga police say female officers were decoy prostitutes, targeting the male customers.

During the two day operation drug paraphernalia, marijuana and a stolen firearm were confiscated.

Chattanooga police spokesperson Elisa Myzal says prostitution is more blatant, than many realize.

“It seemed to be more prevalent. In fact, while we were out there, there were children playing in their front yards while prostitution is going on right there in front of them.”

And East Lake residents are fighting back harder than before.

“We had received complaints from members of the community that live in East Lake and Highland park areas.”

Linda Richards has been an East Lake resident for 34 years and she says she know’s what going on in her neighborhood.

“I don’t think there’s people in the neighborhood doing it. People that are passing through that’s committing the crime in that selected area.”

“The thing about the recent sting is that people don’t realize that the majority of the sting did not happen in East Lake – number one – It happened in areas that surrounding East Lake,” says East Lake Neighborhood Association President Lisa Davis.

Four of the five men received criminal citations and were arrested on a charge of patronizing prostitutes.
The fifth man, 28-year-old, Eric Halfacre also was charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm, possession of marijuana and driving on revoked license.

All six women were arrested for prostitution.
And one of them, 36-year-old Sandra Buttermore has an added charge for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Because of the additional charges, Halfacre was booked into the Hamilton County Jail.
Chattanooga police say human trafficking was not a factor in this incident.
The prostitutes ranged in age from 36 to 52.

Prostitutes arrested:
Sandra Buttermore (female, 36) – also Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Barbara Springs (female, 48)

Tonya Craze (female, 52)

Sheila Woody (female, 41)

Tammy Hering (female, 40)

Terra Shepherd (female, 44)

Arrested patronizing prostitution:
Hoyt Thomas (male, 61)

Eric Halfacre (male, 28) – also Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm, Possession of Marijuana, Driving on Revoked License (booked Hamilton County Jail)

Lamar George (male, 59)

Aaron Hecker (male, 41)

Basil Small (male, 48)

This sting is part of CPD’s ongoing effort to combat prostitution, human trafficking, and related offenses.

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