"A newspaper delivery woman's decision to pick up another woman on the side of the road led Ankeny police to a sex trafficking ring.
Lavon Franz, of Des Moines, was on her usual Des Moines Register paper route at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday when she saw a woman waving her arms on the side of the road. The woman was one of four involved in a sex trafficking ring an Illinois woman was charged in connection to Sunday.
Brittany Walters, 25, of East Dubuque, Illinois, was arrested and charged with two counts of pimping and two counts of human trafficking, all class D felonies, according to court records.
According to a criminal complaint, Walters scheduled times for men to pay women for sex on Saturday and Sunday at locations including the Quality Inn and Suites hotel on SE Delaware Avenue in Ankeny.
"I was shocked that it was in my own backyard," Franz said. "I had no idea that (sex trafficking) was this close.""
"Ankeny Police Capt. Makai Echer said in circumstances where people see something they believe is out of place, they shouldn't hesitate to contact police.
"It's not a waste of police's time," she said. "If you see something, you should say something."
A person should be aware of the risk of picking up someone off the street, Echer said, but if they do, the best place to take them during the late night and early morning hours is a place that operates 24 hours where there are other people. Those locations could include convenience stores or the police department."