York City Police used a free ad-posting website Sunday to conduct a prostitution detail along Route 30.
Chief Wes Kahley said officers posed as a prostitute on www.backpage.com, where people can post photos with classified ads, attracting several johns to a meeting site at an undisclosed location on Route 30 in the city.
Five men were arrested and will be charged with solicitation, the chief said. They are:
-- Kevan Michael Burke, 60, of York,
-- Manuchhr Malekivash, 53, of New York, NY,
-- John Joseph Geoghan III, 43, of Dallastown,
-- Dai M. Pham, 21, of York, and
-- Christopher Mark Henkel, 46, of Lancaster.
Kahley said police track people coming to the York area to commit acts of prostitution, using services like www.backpage.com and www.craigslist.com as a way to meet and communicate.
"The Internet and social media has shrunk the world," he said. "Prostitution used to be a local thing, now they can come from anywhere and engage in their conduct and leave."
While there are still prostitutes who "stand on corners," the Internet has opened new avenues, he said.
City officers have posed as prostitutes and as johns to make arrests. When the johns or the prostitutes arrive at the designated meeting place, "certain things have to take place to make sure the people involved wanted to be engaged in the crime of prostitution," he said. When police are satisfied the criteria has been met, they make an arrest, Kahley said.