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Prostitution arrests signal trend

Police say the crime is on the rise at hotels near Bob Hope Airport.

August 18, 2010|By Gretchen Meier,

Two women arrested on suspicion of prostitution at a Quality Inn earlier this month were the latest in what authorities say has become a troubling trend.

Before the arrests, Burbank police reported 29 prostitution or vice-related offenses this year, far more than the three offenses reported in those categories for all of 2009.

"There has definitely been a rise in [prostitution]," said Burbank Police Sgt. Robert Quesada.

The recent arrests were part of a concentrated enforcement operation at local hotels that targeted narcotics, gangs and prostitution activity.

A manager at the Quality Inn on North Buena Vista Boulevard where the two women were arrested Aug. 5 and 6 said he had no knowledge of the arrests.


Roxanne Monzon, 18, of El Cajon, and 20-year-old Lacey Sverev, of Westminster, were arrested at the hotel on suspicion of prostitution, police said.

The Quality Inn, the Extended Stay America Hotel on Empire Avenue and the Ramada Burbank Airport on North San Fernando Boulevard are often used due to their proximity to Bob Hope Airport and cheaper rates, Quesada said.

"A lot these people actually fly into Burbank from Oakland, the San Francisco area or elsewhere to do their business here," he said.

Police get anonymous calls when prostitution is suspected, but detectives also find women who advertise massages on Craigslist, or similar Internet sites. The women use coded language or terms, such as "half and half," "in call" or "out call," and conduct much of their business via text message.

In other instances, officers will be tipped off by the smell of marijuana emanating from hotel rooms or parked vehicles.

Burbank police have conducted undercover investigations of Internet massage advertisements since 2001, but most of those investigations led to private residences.

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