Colonie, NY

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Colonie is a town of approximately 85,000 residents, located between Schenectady and Albany, New York. Prostitution and sex trafficking in the community have been well-documented over the past four decades, often resulting in complaints and tips from residents to local police. Colonie drew national media attention in the mid-1980s when a domestic minor sex trafficking network was uncovered in the town. The network included as many as ten minor females, several of whom testified that they had been forced into prostitution and repeatedly physically assaulted. At least three adult male pimps were jailed as a result of the investigation. The network’s ringleader, Bruce Carey, was paroled in 2006 and re-arrested in January 2011 after a 15-year-old runaway fled his apartment in nearby Schenectady. Much like the young trafficking victims’ testimony against Carey in the mid-1980s, “the girl told [police] she had been raped, brought up from her home in Harlem and forced into prostitution.” On April 4, 2012, Carey was convicted of “promoting prostitution in the third degree, rape in the third degree, and [committing a] criminal sex act in the third degree after luring the 15-year-old girl away from a New York City psychiatric facility to his apartment where he raped her and forced her into prostitution in February 2010.” He is currently serving three concurrent 15-years-to-life sentences.

More recently, an 18-year-old pimp was arrested in September 2015 by Colonie Police Department officers in response to reports of an underage female being forced into prostitution at a local motel. Upon arrival, CPD officers discovered the victim was 18 years old (i.e., not a minor) but “had marks on her body consistent with the marks of a stun gun.” Media outlets reported that the pimp “allegedly had a stun gun in his pocket” at the time of his arrest. According to the Albany Times-Union, he was charged with “promoting prostitution in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degrees, all felonies.” In September 2021, a federal indictment charged a Colonie resident with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children, sex trafficking of a child, transportation of minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to transport an individual to engage in prostitution, and coercion and enticement. He was alleged to have recruited girls and women to engage in paid sexual exploitation at his direction and then provide him with the proceeds.

Local anti-prostitution operations have been sporadic over time, but increased in response to increased indoor prostitution, facilitated by online ads. In 2012, CPD officers made nine prostitution-related arrests. In 2013, they made 29 arrests. The increased undercover operations producing these arrests were sometimes assisted by the State Police, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, and the Albany Police Department.

While the majority of the town’s anti-prostitution efforts have – historically – focused on the arrests of prostituted women, the Colonie Police Department has conducted reverse stings targeting sex buyers. The first known operation was conducted in October 1998. It resulted in the arrest of at least one male sex buyer– a Schenectady City Councilman– who was apprehended after he solicited sex from a prostituted woman “who was working in cooperation with Colonie police.” Although news reports described the reversal as a “sweep,” no other arrestee information was made available to the public.  In 2013, 29 prostitution-related arrests were made, including 13 for patronizing a prostitute.

In August 2018, five men were arrested in a web-based reverse sting. Undercover officers used online websites and social media platforms to arrange meetings at locations in the town. The investigation was initiated in response to complaints and tips from town residents and businesses and the Capital Region Crime Stoppers. Colonie police charged the men with third-degree patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor. Police identified the arrested men in news releases.

In April 2019, a man was found guilty after a jury trial of one count of second-degree felony patronizing a person for prostitution. The jury found that on Dec. 2, 2017, in the Town of Colonie, the man had responded to a Craigslist ad and engaged in a telephone conversation with a person he believed to be a 19-year-old girl and agreed to pay a fee of $200 to engage in sexual conduct with her and a 14-year-old girl.

In December 2019, a man dressed as Santa Clause and collecting for the Salvation Army was arrested in front of an upstate New York grocery store when the police officer recognized him as a man with an open arrest warrant for allegedly patronizing a prostitute nearly two years previously. He was arrested on Christmas Eve and given a summons to appear before the Colonie Town Court the day after Christmas.

In April 2021, the New York State Police took part in a multiagency investigation into child exploitation and human trafficking. The investigation occurred throughout the Capital District and resulted in the arrest of fifteen individuals – including six in Colonie. The men were charged with patronizing a person for prostitution, and their identities were included in a press release. The agencies and units participating included the Troop G Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Troop G Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team, Troop G Computer Crimes Unit, the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force from the Albany Division of the FBI, Rotterdam Police Department, North Greenbush Police Department, Colonie Police Department, East Greenbush Police Department, and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. The District Attorney’s Offices of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties were also consulted during this investigation.

In January 2023, State Police Investigators of Latham arrested a 63-year-old man for Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, Attempted Criminal Sex act in the Second Degree, and Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Second Degree. Investigators arrested the suspect with the assistance of the Troop G Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). During an investigation, it was determined that the man had made arrangements and traveled to an agreed location in Colonie, NY, to meet with who he believed to be a 14-year-old for the purpose of sexual exploitation. He was arrested and processed at SP Latham. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Colonie Town Court in February 2023.

In April, 2023, State Police Investigators of Latham arrested a man  on charges including Assault in the Second Degree, Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, Attempted Criminal Sex Act in the Second Degree, Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Second Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle and multiple Vehicle and Traffic Law Violations. During an investigation, it was determined that the man made arrangements and had traveled from the Buffalo area to an agreed location in Colonie, NY, to meet with what he believed to be a 13-year-old for the purpose of sexual exploitation.  When attempts were made to take him into custody, the suspect fled in his vehicle.  A pursuit was initiated which traversed several of Colonie’s roadways, lasting approximately 13 minutes, that ended with the supect being taken into custody without incident in the area of Troy Schenectady Road in Colonie, NY. He was transported to SP Latham for processing and was arraigned at the Colonie Town Court and released on his own recognizance.  State investigators had made contact with the man with the assistance of Troop G Computer Crimes Unit (CCU), the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the arrest was made with assistance from the Colonie Police Department, and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Disclosure of Sex Buyer Identities:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State New York
Type City
Population 85461
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