Tuesday 16 January 2018

Tourist 'stabbed by bouncer in prostitution scam' in Las Vegas

A BRITISH tourist was hospitalised with serious stab wounds after a dispute at a Las Vegas business that police say was marketed as a reflexology spa but operated as a prostitution scam.

Operators of the Red Devil Fitness and Spa induced patrons to part with hundreds of dollars, Las Vegas police Officer Marcus Martin said.

According to arrest reports Briton Joseph Sherriff, 25, arrived in a taxi early on Sunday morning. He was stabbed multiple times by a bouncer after he got agitated and threw a water bottle at one of the women employees.

Five women and a man were arrested on charges including racketeering, fraud and conspiracy after the attack. The security guard believed to have stabbed the victim had not been arrested late on Monday and his name had not been released.

Police said the women were all dressed in provocative clothes to trick men into believing they were prostitutes.

Sherriff was taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas with stomach and head wounds. He was not cooperating with investigators, Martin said.

Martin said investigators believe taxi drivers helped funnel customers to the business in an industrial area several blocks west of the Las Vegas Strip. He characterised the near-fatal dispute as an argument over an implied promise of sex for money.

"The guy argued when it became clear it was a scam, that nothing was going to happen," Martin said.

Prostitution is legal in some rural Nevada counties, but not in the state's two largest casino cities, Las Vegas and Reno.

Tourists impaired by alcohol or drugs are popular victims at the fake prostitution businesses, according to the arrest reports. The fee generally starts at $200 per person. No refunds are allowed.

"These people get a patron to sign an agreement acknowledging they know prostitution is illegal," Martin said. "Then they continue to lure them into paying more and larger amounts of money."

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