Friday, October 31, 2014

Two jailed in prostitution bust after robbery claim

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/21/2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would like to talk with a 21-year-old man from the Republic of Georgia who was arrested by Ottawa police Thursday in connection with a prostitution case, the federal agency said Friday.  

It wasn’t clear if a disgruntled Zauri Phirtskhalaishvili was trying to get a refund from an alleged encounter with a prostitute Wednesday night when he called police to report a robbery.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would like to talk with a 21-year-old man from the Republic of Georgia who was arrested by Ottawa police Thursday in connection with a prostitution case, the federal agency said Friday.  

It wasn’t clear if a disgruntled Zauri Phirtskhalaishvili was trying to get a refund from an alleged encounter with a prostitute Wednesday night when he called police to report a robbery.

Ottawa police officers were dispatched at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday to a residence in the 600 block of South Oak Street to investigate a robbery report, where Phirtskhalaishvili told them a woman had taken money from him and fled with another person in a vehicle.

A Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy located the suspect’s vehicle on U.S. 59, north of Ottawa, and during the initial investigation officers determined the alleged robbery was tied to a possible act of prostitution, an Ottawa Police Department news release said.

Officers arrested Jalisa Simms, 23, Kansas City, Mo., on suspicion of prostitution. She was booked at 1:48 a.m. Thursday into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Following up on the original robbery report, Ottawa police investigators determined Phirtskhalaishvili’s story about the robbery was not accurate and arrested the Georgian at 11:50 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of filing a false report and patronizing a prostitute, the release said.

Phirtskhalaishvili was being detained in the county jail Friday on a hold order for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after the investigation noted he was in violation of a student visa, Ottawa police said.

The jail booking report listed Phirtskhalaishvili’s address at 602 S. Oak St., Ottawa, where the alleged crime took place.

Until the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes custody of Phirtskhalaishvili, the agency would have no comment about the case, Shawn Neudauer, public affairs officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Friday.

“He’s being held on a detainer, which simply means that when local law enforcement is done with him, we’d like to talk with him,” Neudauer said. “Until he is in [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] custody, it’s a local matter, and [the agency] will have no comment.”

The investigation indicates the prostitution incident was coordinated through an online escort service, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said in a news release.

Officers continue to follow up with additional witnesses, but do not anticipate additional arrests related to the case, Weingartner said. Investigators think it was an isolated incident, he said.

Simms remained in jail Friday, pending a court appearance.

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