Colonie, NY

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Colonie is a town of approximately 82,000 residents, located between Schenectady and Albany, New York.   Prostitution and sex trafficking in the community have been well-documented over the past two decades.

Colonie drew national media attention in the mid-1980s, when a domestic minor sex trafficking network was uncovered in the town. The network was said to include as many as 10 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.”

Town anti-prostitution operations  have been sporadic over time, but have increased recently 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 are sometimes assisted by the State Police, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the Albany Police Department.

While the majority of the town’s anti-prostitution efforts have focused on the arrest of prostituted women, the Colonie Police Department has conducted a small number of reverse stings targeting johns.  The first known operation was conducted in October 1998, and resulted in the arrest of at least one john– 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 included 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 from 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 $200.00 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 summons to appear before the Colonie Town Court the day after Christmas.


Key Partners

  • Colonie Police Department
  • New York State Police
  • Albany County Sheriff’s Office
  • Albany Police Department

Key Sources

State New York
Type City
Population 81591
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