Three suspects arrested in Backpage prostitution and robbery ring

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Three suspects have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution and robbery ring that was discovered earlier this month.

Major Crimes Detectives believe it was the promise of sex that lured victims into a robbery scheme.

Earlier this month, investigators got a report of an armed robbery at a north Spokane park. Officers believe men were showing up in response to an ad on Backpage.com thinking they would meet a prostitute named Melanie. Instead, they got ambush.  

Court documents show after the money changed hands, “Melanie,” would take the men to an apartment complex nearby. She would then get out of the car and run away while two other men robbed the victims.

Tenisha Herrell, Nicholas Sailors and Tyler Contonio were all arrested. They are facing multiple counts of first degree robbery. Herrell and Contonio are believed to be in a relationship.

Authorities said Sailors used a realistic looking silver BB gun.  Police believe Contonio would steal whatever he could from the victims.

Police said together they got away with dozens of credit cards, electronics and cash. When authorities searched the Rosewood Park Apartments, where the suspects lived, they said they found stolen items from multiple cases.  

Officials know of four robberies but say there are probably at least 10. Police believe because of the nature of the case some victims may have never reported what happened.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to come forward.

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