32 arrested in Costa Mesa prostitution crackdown, mostly at 2 motels


A special investigations unit from the Costa Mesa Police Department made 32 prostitution-related arrests over the past two weeks, the department announced Monday.

Most of the arrests stemmed from activity at the Vagabond Inn, 3205 Harbor Blvd., and La Quinta Inn, 1515 South Coast Drive, Police Chief Rob Sharpnack said in a news release.

The arrests involved in-person solicitations and meetings arranged through online ads, Sharpnack said.

“Additional investigation has shown the prostitutes have left for other cities,” a city statement said. “The Costa Mesa vice unit is cracking down, and Costa Mesa is not a safe haven for prostitutes.”

Information about who was arrested or any citations issued was not available Tuesday.

Crime at Costa Mesa motels has been a political topic in recent years, with members of the City Council majority calling them a drain on public safety resources.

Though the Vagabond and La Quinta have not been among the high-profile targets of City Hall, other motels have, including the Costa Mesa Motor Inn and Alibaba Motel. Code enforcement raids at those properties in 2013 found hundreds of health and safety violations, the city said.

The Motor Inn is slated to be torn down and replaced with luxury apartments, but those plans are on hold, pending the results of lawsuits challenging the development.