Quick thinking by two teenagers kept them safe when a man approached them in Maricopa offering money for sex.
Maricopa police arrested Michael Yousif, 46, on Tuesday on suspicion of attempting to solicit 17- and 19- year old girls, according to Maricopa police.
The man first got their attention about 9:45 a.m. Monday at Copper Sky Recreational Center when he honked his horn, asking them to come over to his car, police said in a statement. When they did, Yousif began to imply he wanted to pay them money to have sex with him or each other and showed them a stack of $100 bills, police said.
The two recorded audio, video and took a photo of the man, who asked about their relationship and a possible meet-up at a Comfort Inn Suites.
The teenagers reported him to the Maricopa Police Department. Yousif was contacted by the police but denied any wrongdoing or criminal intent.
Detectives continued to investigate by requesting any information on similar events that were connected to the car Yousif drove or to his physical description, police said.
On Tuesday, Yousif was taken into custody and transported to Maricopa Police Department’s main station on suspicion of loitering and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
In an interview, Yousif told investigators that he offered to pay for all expenses, a hotel room and alcohol, police said. Based on these statements, he was booked on suspicion of child prostitution and transporting or financing the transportation of any minor with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution, police said.
The solicitation conversation
The almost five-minute-long audio clip recorded by one of the girls, which was posted to the Maricopa, AZ Facebook group, captures part of the conversation between the teenagers and the man.
In the recording, he first asks the girls what they like to drink or if they drink. The girls respond that they didn’t, so he continues to ask more questions about what they do when they “want to party.”
The conversation progresses with the man asking the girls more personal questions. He wants to know if they had ever experimented with each other. One of the teenagers responds that they have been in a relationship for two years. The man then asks how comfortable they are with each other and if the girls “basically just go all out.”
The man begins to ask if they are interested in “just you know.” The girls then ask him to write down his number, but the man offers to send it to one of their phones. One of the girls denies the offer.
“Ah no … I am just very secretive about stuff like that,” she said.
The man then wants to know how he could confirm later that it was the girls texting him and she says she would send a picture of herself.
He tells them his name is Michael and he gives them a phone number.
The man then shows the girls the stack of $100 bills to let them know he was “not playing around” and was “serious.”
The man tells the girls they do not have to worry about him.
“You know, I’m a friendly person. I’m not a criminal or anything like that,” he says. “So don’t get me wrong. Um, just like to have fun, you know?”
The girls ask what would happen if they were to meet up and he responds that they could set up a day and time to meet. The man offers to go to Chandler with them, go to a Comfort Inn Suites or find a nice room somewhere else.
“We’ll talk, have fun, giggle and laugh and whatever and then we’ll proceed from there,” the man says.
The girls tell the man their first names and say they will let him know later what they decide.
The community reacts
Facebook users were in an uproar, with several people chatting about going over to his house and calling and texting his phone number.
Ricardo Alvarado, a public affairs specialist with the Maricopa Police Department, said the Police Department does not advise people to try to be vigilantes. People who take the law into their own hands can be liable for crimes depending on what actions they take, he said.
“Let the department do our job,” Alvarado said.
If a person gets in a similar situation as the one the teenage girls faced, he advised they walk away and report it, Alvarado said. He suggested getting as much information as possible about the suspect, such as a description of the person or a license plate number.
The teenagers provided video and audio recordings to the police of the man communicating with them, which was OK for their situation, Alvarado said.
But he said that wasn’t advised in every case.
“If it is a crime in progress, don’t put yourself in danger with videotaping it,” Alvarado said.
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