Crime Watch 8

14-year-old girl arrested in Bloomington for prostitution

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Police in Bloomington have arrested a 14-year-old girl for prostitution.

The Bloomington Police Department said the girl has been referred to the juvenile justice system so she could get the proper help that she needs.

Investigators have been looking into the case for more than a month. They launched an investigation after receiving a complaint in January.

“A woman had saw on her husband’s cell phone some text messages that were disturbing to her,” said Captain Steve Kellams. “They were sexual in nature with a female she knew to be underage.”

Police traced those messages back to the 14-year-old girl. They issued search warrants for the girl’s Facebook account and text messages.

“We recognized that it had been pretty clear the 14-year-old had solicited money for sexual intercourse with an individual. We don’t believe at this time that it actually happened,” said Capt. Kellams.

Kellams said they found other conversations, but none of them were sexual in nature.

“They’re just conversation through Facebook. None of them actually arose to any level of solicitation,” said Kellams.

He added, “It looks like in some of those conversations she did represent herself as being 17.”

The case is alarming for faith based groups like Ascent 121.

“The awareness has increased so much in Indiana that we are seeing, I don’t know if the prevalence has increased,” said Megan Jessup, chief operating officer for Ascent 121. “But we are seeing a significant number of victims ranging from 12 to 17 to 18-years-old.”

The nonprofit organization works to provide awareness and resources to help victims of exploitation and trafficking.

“The awareness is critical so it’s really important to build awareness across the state and I think Indiana as a whole has done a really nice job of that,” said Jessup. “As awareness has increased we have been able to identify a number of victims that as two to three years ago we might have identified a handful of minor victims.”

She added, “In 2015 Ascent 121 was able to serve 47 human trafficking victims across our service spectrum.”

Police said the girl in this case had a history of family problems. Her guardian told police that she has a difficult time controlling her.

MORE CRIME WATCH 8 STORIES

Shoe art by Kokomo native stolen from northern Indiana museum

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — A shoe by an Indiana native was stolen Saturday from a northern Indiana art museum.

South Bend Museum of Art is seeking help to find the thief of a shoe from the piece titled “Welcome Knives,” part of an exhibit by Kokomo native Chris Francis that’s traveled to other U.S. museums. His work has been described as wearable architecture.

The shoe disappeared between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday while the museum was open. The museum staff and city police are reviewing surveillance video from the Century Center to gain a lead. South Bend’s show called “Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art” is in the downtown Century Center through April 5.

Francis, who grew up in Kokomo and now lives in Los Angeles, said in a statement that he was “saddened to be informed that someone has chosen to steal the piece ‘Welcome Knives’ from the exhibition. The shoes exhibited are all documented and catalogued works of art that have shown in many museums. Every shoe in the exhibition is one of a kind, with no others in existence making them very different than shoes we find in stores.”

Francis has created shoes for runway shows and for celebrities, including Lady Gaga and the members of Kiss and The Sex Pistols.

His work was displayed late last year on the Purdue University campus.

Anyone with information was asked to call the South Bend Police Department at (574) 235.9201 or contact the South Bend Museum of Art via email at info@southbendart.org, or through the museum’s social media accounts: Facebook, @SouthBendMuseumofArt; Twitter, @southbendart; Instagram, @southbendart.

MORE STORIES

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK