Suspect was arrested in Merced
REDWOOD CITY — A 28-year-old man suspected of forcing a 26-year-old woman to work as a prostitute in cities throughout the Bay Area was arrested Friday following an investigation by Redwood City police.
The suspect, Devone Richardson of Elk Grove, threatened to send nude pictures of the woman to her parents if she did not continue working for him, according to a news release issued by Redwood City police. The woman told police she had been working as a prostitute for about a month for Richardson, who controlled her by keeping her money, cell phone, purse and identification, and denied her food and made her sleep in his car.
The investigation started on Aug. 18 when patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic-violence incident in downtown Redwood City, police said. The male suspect fled before officers arrived, and the female victim initially denied any domestic violence had occurred.
Officers who interviewed the woman sensed “uneasiness in her statement” and, “out of concern for her overall well-being,” offered her temporary shelter. The woman accepted and she was taken to the local First Chance facility.
Suspecting there was more to the story, officers collaborated with First Chance counselors and asked them to call police if the woman wanted additional help from law enforcement.
Later that evening, the victim told First Chance counselors she had been forced into prostitution and beaten by a man she referred to as her pimp.
A Redwood City patrol officer responded to First Chance and interviewed the woman, who provided more information about how she was forced “into an unwilling life of prostitution,” according to the police press release.
Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Richardson and contacted law enforcement agencies in areas where he was known to frequent.
Friday, Merced police officers stopped Richardson after receiving a hit on their automated license plate reader. Redwood City detectives went to Merced, took custody of Richardson booked him into the San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of human trafficking, pimping, pandering, robbery, domestic violence, extortion and assault.
Redwood City police collaborated with San Mateo County Human Trafficking Program Coordinator to get the woman additional assistance for long-term housing and money for food.
Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Nick Perna at NPerna@redwoodcity.org. Persons with information about this case or any other case who wish to remain anonymous may leave messages at 1-800-222-TIPS.
If anyone has any questions regarding human trafficking in San Mateo County or elsewhere, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Gomez | email@example.com | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: August 27, 2018 at 10:59 am | UPDATED: August 27, 2018 at 3:37 pm