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Police and sheriff's deputies in Franklin County have arrested a Kansas City, Mo., woman and a man from the Republic of Georgia in connection with an alleged prostitution offense in Ottawa.
Officers investigating a reported robbery Wednesday night believe they instead uncovered a meeting arranged through an online escort service that went awry, according to a statement provided by Capt. Adam Weingartner, an Ottawa Police Department spokesman.
The incident was reported to police about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, when officers investigated a reported robbery in the 600 block of South Oak Street. The alleged victim told police that one person took money from him and then drove away with a second person in the vehicle.
Later that night, deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle on U.S. Highway 59, north of Ottawa, based on the alleged victim's description. Suspecting the alleged robbery was related to an attempted prostitution deal, officers arrested one of the vehicle's occupants, Jalisa Simms, 23, of Kansas City, Mo., on suspicion of prostitution.
On Thursday, Ottawa police, suspecting that the alleged robbery did not happen as reported, arrested Zauri Phirtskhalaishvili, 21, of the Republic of Georgia, on suspicion of filing a false report and patronizing a prostitute. Phirtskhalaishvili was also held in Franklin County Jail on a hold order from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as investigators suspected he was in violation of a student visa.
Investigators believe the incident was coordinated through an online escort service and was an isolated incident, according to Ottawa police. Officers are continuing to interview witnesses, police said, but do not expect to make more arrests in the case.