Dating for DNA

A former Seattle prostitute is busted in Chicago. Guess what she was collecting.

She's the convicted prostitute and onetime King County Sheriff's informant who lived with a Bellevue state trooper and claimed she had sex with King and Snohomish county deputies, other state troopers, and a Boy Scout. The other day, she was apparently planning to have sex with a Chicago police officer. Unfortunately for Nicole "Pepper" Prigger, he was in plain clothes, working vice.

When he arrested Prigger in a May 3 prostitution sting at the venerable Palmer House Hilton, the cop made a discovery that led the evening newscasts in Chicago: Not only did Prigger, 27, of Bonney Lake, Pierce County, allegedly plan to tape their "massage" session with a hidden camera, she likely figured to save the cop's used condom and catalog the sample under his name, police say.

Her plan, according to Chicago vice Sgt. Michael Malone, was to blackmail clients who had sex with her, using the videotapes as leverage and the used condoms as DNA proof. A police search turned up personal details of customers stored in binders with notations that said "pictures: yes or no" and bagged condoms matched to client names. Prigger, who also kept a customer notebook when she worked as a Seattle-area escort, faces a Chicago court date next week. So far charged as a masseuse without a license and with illegal use of a video camera, she might have had sex with 10 men over several days, and, having already charged them $500 an hour, allegedly planned to extort more from them later, police suspect.

"As far as we're concerned," says Malone, "she was by herself and it was a one-woman operation. She's saying that she was staying with a roommate, but our investigation shows no one else in the room, no one else with her."

Five years ago in the Seattle area, Prigger was clearly not working alone, said local investigators. Convicted three times of prostitution, the then–willowy 22-year-old bought a home in Bonney Lake with a state trooper who, investigators said, drove her to sexual liaisons on the Eastside and shared her illegal profits (see "Booty Calls," Jan. 5, 2000). Prigger today is sole owner of the home, according to property records.

"We haven't had any contact with her since her [last] 1998 booking," King County Sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart said last week. "Nor has any other agency booked her into the King County Jail since then. She must have moved on to greener pastures."

Indeed, says Chicago's Sgt. Malone. One of his officers arranged to meet Prigger after seeing magazine and Internet ads in which she billed herself as "Taylor," offering exotic massages. She is featured on the front page of Dream Girls, the magazine of Above Taylor's photo, consumers are reminded to "Ask About Our 2 Girl Special and Domination." At $500 an hour, says Malone, "She's upscale, definitely upscale."

In Seattle, Prigger had been a $175-an-hour escort-service prostitute who also posed for coquettish pictures sprawled atop patrol cars. After one of her arrests, she agreed in 1998 to work as a King County Sheriff's informant in return for immunity. Later, checking out a rumor, county detectives drove by her home and saw a Washington State Patrol cruiser in the driveway. A subsequent search warrant at the home turned up cash, allegedly earned by Prigger, in the console of the trooper's patrol car and a client notebook with names and notations such as "likes fighting/wrestling."

Prigger and the trooper were arrested and jailed for prostitution and money laundering, but, in 2000, prosecutors opted not to charge either of them. The trooper, who faced firing after an internal probe, voluntarily resigned. Prigger did tell detectives she was having sexual relationships with several King County deputies as well as a young member of the sheriff's Explorer Scout program. Several deputies were questioned but not charged, although the loyal scout was quickly drummed out of the youth corps.

The scout said Prigger told him "there was a couple of Snohomish County [Sheriff's] guys" plus an Everett police officer she dated. "And then a couple state troopers." Prigger told him, the scout added, "that almost every guy she's ever dated was a cop." Add one more in Chicago.

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