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    Two-city police sting nabs four johns

    Clearwater and Largo police cooperate for the first time to bait people who would pay for sex. Four men were cited.

    By CHRIS TISCH, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 2, 2002


    LARGO -- In the first joint prostitution sting between the Clearwater and Largo police departments, officers on Friday cited four men on charges they tried to solicit a prostitute who actually was an undercover officer.

    The sting on Clearwater-Largo Road near 10th Avenue in Largo comes about a year after Largo Chief Lester Aradi and Clearwater Chief Sid Klein started talking about working more closely together.

    "It's the first instance of Clearwater undercover officers coming into Largo," Aradi said Monday. "And we'll be sending Largo undercover officers into Clearwater in the future."

    Aradi, who has led the Largo department for about 16 months, has made cooperating with other agencies a priority. Pinellas Park police worked with Largo officers a few weeks ago during a series of drug arrests.

    Aradi said because criminals don't follow jurisdictional lines, police also shouldn't be so rigid with their boundaries.

    In the sting Friday night, officers cited four men who allegedly tried to pick up the undercover female officers.

    "We were in a downpour. And even with these girls getting rained on, people were pulling up," Aradi said.

    The four men were given notices to appear in court.

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