Rockford Police name 28 people charged in lingerie shop sex investigations


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Twenty-eight people have been charged in connection with a prostitution investigation into two Rockford lingerie shops.

Two Rockford businesses were shut down in March and May after police conducted an investigation into the illegal sex trade.

Chantilly Lace, 106 7th Street, and Exclusive Lingerie Boutique, 77 7th Street, were closed and condemned.

The Rockford Police Department executed search warrants of both businesses during an operation dubbed “Operation Exclusive”, and based on evidence gathered, announced Tuesday a total of 80 charges against 28 individuals.

Chantilly Lace owner Peggy D. Smith, 57, of Rockford, is in custody, charged with 12 counts of Promoting a Place of Prostitution.

Photo: Rockford Police Department

The other subjects are wanted by police.

All twenty-eight were charged with Patronizing a Prostitute and Solicitation of a Sexual Act.

At a press conference Tuesday, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross and Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea named the following men in the investigation:

Bruce C. Wanke, 71

David A. Babler, 76

Denis T. Mabie, 76,

Donald Davis, 72

Garelt S. Stahl, 75

Harry L. Nebergall, 57

Howard A. Richmond, 53

James Athans, 80

James F. Thomason, 68

Javier E. Saavedra, 45

Larry J. Flynn, 67

Dr. Larry O. Sy, 55

Dr. Mark K. Myers, 52

Martin G. Bertagnoli, 69

Michael J. Aberle, 74

Randy N. Fox, 54

Robert E. Von Bergen, 52

Robert H. Mathison, 75

Roger M. Miller, 77

Ronald F. Larson, Jr., 64

Ryan T. McMahon, 46

Scott Sutker, 56

Steven M. Haas, 67

Hector Alvarez, 57

Tom Fields, 54

Tyson S. Fettes, 33

Raul Pena, 52

Hite Ross said authorities want anyone who is aware of any human trafficking in the community to notify law enforcement.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara released a statement saying, “This investigation and the charges announced today have a significant impact on our community. With the help of those willing to come forward and provide critical information, we were able to shut these businesses down and take a big step in ending this type of activity in our community.”


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