LEWISTON — Four local women were arrested Wednesday night, accused of engaging in prostitution on downtown streets.
The four were charged after an undercover police officer went out onto the streets as part of an effort to crack down on what has been described as a rampant prostitution problem.
"We're getting reports that they're approaching people and vehicles at all hours of the day," Lewiston police Sgt. David St. Pierre said. "It's a continuing problem we're trying to address.
The undercover effort was part of Operation Hot Spots, an ongoing operation involving several agencies, including Lewiston police and Maine Drug Enforcement.
The undercover officer began riding through the downtown at about dinnertime Wednesday. By 6 p.m., the first arrest was made when police say 44-year-old Michelle Descoteaux approached the officer and offered sex for money near Walnut and Pierce streets.
Descoteaux, of 395 Court St., Auburn, was charged with engaging in prostitution.
The officer remained in the downtown area, staying in contact with a team of other agents who monitored his movements.
At 7:30 p.m., police arrested Erin Schneider, 32, of 20 Horton St., after she allegedly propositioned the officer on Bartlett Street, near Androscoggin Avenue.
At 9:20, Monique Libby, 41, of 76 Pine St. was arrested on Main Street, near Frye Street.
At 9:45 p.m., police arrested 26-year-old Jessie Judd, of 88 Bartlett St., near the Multi-Purpose Center on Birch Street.
Each of the suspects was charged with engaging in prostitution. Police said more arrests are likely as the operation continues.