The Los Angeles Police Department conducted its largest undercover prostitution sting yet on Lankershim Boulevard in Sun Valley on Wednesday, arresting at least 16 men, including an on-duty county employee.
About 80 LAPD detectives and officers took part in the sting along Lankershim Boulevard, which involved arresting johns who propositioned undercover female officers. The 20-hour sting was scheduled to end at midnight on Wednesday.
Among those arrested was Mark Anthony Moton, who works at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, according to LAPD Capt. Joseph Hiltner. Moton was driving a county car at the time, Hiltner said.
DCFS spokesman Armand Montiel declined comment on the department employee arrest.
Moton could not be reached for comment.
The area around Lankershim Boulevard and Neenach Street is one of the most heavily trafficked areas for prostitution in the San Fernando Valley. The LAPD frequently uses undercover stings along a commercial stretch of Lankershim that hosts family-owned shops.
Business owners recently have stepped up their complaints about how the heavy prostitution activity has hurt business in the area.
Dan Schumacher, owner of the Muds Classic Parts & Restoration on Lankershim, believes the LAPD stings need to be altered because the undercover officers are far better-looking than the actual prostitutes.
The sudden appearance of different-looking women reveals there's a sting under way, Schumacher said.
"You'd have to be an idiot (not to know)," he said.
But the LAPD believes their efforts are having an effect.
"We are hoping (the sting) will carry some momentum," Hiltner said. "The folks that look for prostitutes, we don't want them looking for prostitutes here."
The men arrested were: