Elkhart Anti-Crime Unit busts 10 in undercover prostitution sting
ELKHART, Ind. -- On Friday and Saturday, this past week, the officers from the Anti-Crime Unit busted 10 people in a prostitution sting!
Police said a female officer posed as a prostitute during the operation.
The following people were arrested during the two-day sting:
- Tam Minh Huynh: a 36-year-old from Elkhart
- Julio Alberto Torres: a 35-year-old from Goshen
- Christopher John Himes: a 45-year-old from Elkhart
- Daren John Nowak: a 40-year-old from Elkhart
- Carl Lee Vogelzang: a 41-year-old from Fort Wayne
- Michael Mojica: a 57-year-old from LaPorte
- David Allen Kovacs: a 43-year-old from South Bend
- Chintan Patel: a 27-year-old from South Bend
- John David Forte: a 49-year-old from Mishawaka
- Randall Thomas Schlundt: a 52-year-old from South Bend
All of the suspects involved were charged with Patronizing a Prostitute, a Class A Misdemeanor.
Christopher Himes is a prominent businessman in Elkhart. He is the President of Recycle Works Inc.-- a division of Waste-Away Group Ltd. ABC 57 talked to Himes back in June when Waste Away Group acquired the old Elkhart Farmer's market building .
Himes told ABC 57 his company is responsible for hauling away trash materials and sorting recyclables.
We went to Himes' home in Elkhart to try and get his side of the story. When we arrived, we found his garage door open and a car running in the driveway, but we were unable to make contact with Himes.
Instead, we talked to neighbors to find out what could've have happened to lead to Himes' arrest.
Neighbors did not want appear on camera, but told us they were shocked to hear about the charge against Himes.
We talked to three neighbors who all said Himes is a good neighbor, husband, father and businessman.
While they were all surprised to hear about Himes involvement with the prostitution sting, they weren't surprised to hear about sting in general. In fact, one neighbor even asked us which location the sting targeted- citing the corner of Harrison Street and 8th street and the corner of Marion Street and 6th Street.
Himes' business, Recycle Works is located just one block away from Harrison Street between 6th and 8th.
Residents in the area told us they too, are not surprised to hear about the prostitution sting.
""From what I've seen from living here is a lot of prostitutes being picked up and making money and a lot of the them getting busted," said Josh Sims, a local resident. "And like, this area right here, this block or that block."
Corner Stop, a convenient store located on the corner of 6th and Marion is stuck right in the middle of busts.
Stephanie Shott has worked at the store for 2 years. She said she sees many of the alleged prostitutes come into the store to pick up condoms and just to talk.
"It breaks my heart. I talk to a lot of them, like sister to sister and tell them that I want better for them," said Shott.
Shott and her fiance said the some of the girls are as young as 14-years-old. She said most of them come from broken homes and have no place to go.
""They do come here and they tell me their stories and so does my fiancé ya know he talks to them about their problems and ya know, we hear that it's hard out there," said Shott. "That's what we hear the most is that it's hard out here."