Four men arrested in a Citywide Vice Unit undercover sting last week for allegedly patronizing prostitution are also the first four johns to have their mugshots publicly posted on the Philadelphia Police Department's Facebook page.
"From now on, we will be publishing the photos of 'Johns' that are charged as part of a PPD City Wide Vice effort to arrest individuals who patronize prostitutes," the department's Facebook post on the latest sting states. "Patronize a prostitute in Philly? Look forward to seeing your picture on Facebook!"
Lt. John Stanford said the new policy is to spread awareness about enforcement of prostitution crimes.
"We were looking for a way where people can actually see this ... It can be somewhat of a deterrent," Stanford said. "It's not to embarrass them, it's just to make people aware that prostitution is an old crime and it's still something that we take seriously."
Asked about the legality of posting suspects' mugshots, Stanford said the identities of all suspects arrested by police can be made public.
"Every arrest is a public record," Stanford said, adding that alleged johns' mugshots will periodically be cleaned from the Facebook.
The citywide Vice Enforcement Unit regularly releases information about undercover prostitution stings. More than 20 solicitation arrests have been reported since September.
"People see it as a victimless crime, but it's not ... It's one of those conduits that allows crime to occur and it leads to other crimes taking place," Stanford said. "We want to send a message that if you solicit in Philly, whether it's on a street corner, a Backpage ad, or through social media, if we find out about it, we are going to make an arrest and put that information out there."
During an undercover sting in the 24th district on Oct. 2, four alleged johns were arrested.
They include: Luciano Peralta, 47, John Yoder, 54, and Johnathan Singleton, 51, all of Philadelphia, and Edward Piatigorsky, 70, of New Holland, Pa.
All face charges of patronizing prostitution and solicitation.
Police confiscated $1,033 in cash, a 2010 Toyota Rav 4, a 2014 Nissan Versa, a 2007 Toyota Sienna and a 1995 Ford Probe during the sting.
See below for the PPD's social media post: