Police: Sarasota hotel employee booked rooms for prostitutes - WRBL

Police: Sarasota hotel employee booked rooms for prostitutes

Posted: Updated:
Mehul Patel Mehul Patel
Enriquez, West and Wilson booking photos Enriquez, West and Wilson booking photos
Sarasota hotel where police say Patel works Sarasota hotel where police say Patel works
North Tamiami trail, where police are cracking down on prostitution North Tamiami trail, where police are cracking down on prostitution
News Channel 8 talks with Mehul Patel News Channel 8 talks with Mehul Patel
SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) -

Sarasota police arrested a hotel clerk for allegedly allowing prostitutes to check in and use his hotel rooms for business.

Officers have been cracking down on prostitution along North Tamiami Trail lately. They recently received a tip that a hotel clerk, 33-year-old Mehul Patel, was knowingly allowing prostitutes to stay, and he acted as a lookout to warn them if police were nearby.

During an operation targeting prostitution in February, an undercover officer went to the Sarasota Airport Hotel.

According to the affidavit, the officer posed as a prostitute and approached Patel.

The affidavit states that the officer made comments that would blatantly make it known that she was a prostitute, and even provided documents to show she had engaged in prostitution.

Police say Patel gave the undercover officer a room, and he "agreed to 'warn' [the officer] if the police arrived at the hotel."

"Anytime law enforcement would come on the property, he would give them a phone call, letting them know that we were there. Just kind of a heads up," said Sarasota police Sgt. Demetri Konstantopoulos.

On May 7th, Patel was arrested and charged with a felony charge of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution. He also faces two misdemeanor charges. 

Patel has since bonded out of jail.

In an interview with News Channel 8, Patel denied that he ever allowed prostitutes to stay in his hotel.

"I was surprised and I don't know anything about these charges," he said.

Patel says he’s been in the business for around 15 years and has never had this situation happen before.  He says he plans to fight the charges.

Patel says it’s possible some of his guests may have knowingly booked a room then invited prostitutes inside. He denies acting as a lookout.

Three other men were arrested in the undercover sting. Manual Enriquez, Joaevan West and Jay Wilson have all been charged with Solicitation of Prostitution. In addition, three vehicles were seized under city ordinance including a full-size dump truck, police say.

Sarasota police say they will continue to investigate local businesses and patrons who take part in prostitution.

Sgt. Konstantopoulos said, "You're rolling the dice if you're going to come to the North trail and participate in any prostitution acts."

Police officers are committed to cleaning up North Tamiami Trail. They're going after the patrons, business owners, and they're going after the prostitutes themselves.

Instead of simply incarcerating the prostitutes, police say they will put them into rehab programs to get them off the streets.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


  • Don't Miss ItMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • Koala survives 54-mile ride clinging to car's grill

    Koala survives 54-mile ride clinging to car's grill

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:59 PM EDT2014-07-29 17:59:42 GMT
    Timberwolf clung to a car for 54 miles. Australia Zoo Facebook photoTimberwolf clung to a car for 54 miles. Australia Zoo Facebook photo
    An adorable little koala survived an amazing high-speed ride by clinging to a car for 54 miles on an Australia highway. The koala suffered a torn nail during the ordeal.
    An adorable little koala survived an amazing high-speed ride by clinging to a car for 54 miles on an Australia highway. The koala suffered a torn nail during the ordeal.
  • FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:48:07 GMT
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
  • Most Viewed Stories on WFLA.com

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.