MORE THAN 30 men looking for a good time ended up having anything but, according to police.
Vice Unit officers yesterday announced the arrests of 34 men, all charged with soliciting prostitutes and related offenses. Cops nabbed the alleged johns during a series of undercover operations over a span of two weeks, police said.
"It's definitely unusual. We don't get that many guys in such a short period of time," Lt. Derrick Wood, Vice Unit's commanding officer, said. "The best way we can make an impact on prostitution in Philly is to target demand, and that's exactly what we did."
In the first set of stings, officers rounded up 27 men, including a prominent Main Line business owner, between April 28 and May 2, at various locations throughout the city, police said.
Larry Weathers III, the owner of Weathers Motors, Inc. in Media, disputes the charges lobbied against him: He says he was arrested during a trip with friends to the area around Philadelphia International Airport, during which he only expressed interest in a massage.
"One thing lead to the next, and the next thing I know, I was confronted with this thing," he said.
"It seemed like entrapment," Weathers added. "Nobody was physically touched, and there was no money exchanged. It's just very disheartening that this situation gets elevated to this level."
After Weathers and the others were arrested, undercover officers rounded up six more suspected johns Thursday during two additional operations: One near Kensington Avenue and Ontario Street in Kensington, and another on Wyalusing Avenue near 51st Street in West Philly, police said.
"People think this is a victimless crime, but it's not," Wood said, referencing the case of Diamond Williams, a transgender prostitute who was slain and dismembered by a john in Strawberry Mansion last summer.
"The communities are happy when we make these arrests and we're always looking for ways to discourage this behavior."