A Tampa firefighter and three other men were arrested Wednesday as part of a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office prostitution sting, the agency said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, 46-year-old Brian Hartzler attempted to solicit sexual acts from an undercover detective while in his Tampa Fire Rescue duty uniform. He was charged with one count of soliciting another to commit prostitution. He was booked into Hillsborough County Jail and released on $500 bond early Thursday.
Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny said Hartzler was hired in December 2017. He is still employed with Tampa Fire Rescue, but the agency will make a determination regarding his status once it reviews the information from the Sheriff's Office, Penny said.
Sheriff Chad Chronister said Hartzler’s arrest was part of a Sheriff’s Office operation against human trafficking. The operation targeted "Johns," men soliciting prostitutes.
"Today's arrests were just one prong in a multi-faceted approach at combating human trafficking," Chronister said. "By attacking prostitution head on, we are trying to take away the financial incentive behind trafficking and hopefully it sends a message to others that this won't be tolerated in Hillsborough County."
The Sheriff’s Office said a total of 17 men engaged with undercover detectives in the University Community area of Tampa. Out of those 17, four were arrested Wednesday on charges of soliciting another to commit prostitution.
In addition to Hartzler, 25-year-old Jawuan Shaquille Hicks, 44-year-old Lucio Martinez and 30-year-old Curtis Antoinne Hargrove were arrested.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.
Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected] Follow @danuscripts.