Dojo Pizza owner speaks out against human trafficking allegation - KMOV.com

Dojo Pizza owner speaks out against human trafficking allegations

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The owner of Dojo Pizza in the Bevo Neighborhood in south St. Louis is speaking out against allegations of human trafficking after the business was raided by local police and federal agents in October 2015.

“There are kids that would come to my place just to be safe,” said Loren Copp, owner of Dojo Pizza. “And now that place is gone.”

Copp owned an old church that housed a school for kids, karate classes, the Dojo Pizza shop, and an apartment where he lived. In October, the building was condemned after inspectors said it wasn’t safe. Meanwhile, St. Louis police were investigating an alleged human trafficking ring after discovering seven girls under the age of 17 were being housed there. However, Copp says it was only four girls, not seven.

“There were four girls that lived with me,” Copp said. “There weren’t seven kids. Somebody out here is trying to make something.”

Copp was arrested and says police told him warrants were being applied for on child endangerment charges. However, as of now, Copp still hasn’t been charged. He says he was helping families from the neighborhood who were dealing with drug addictions and financial problems.

“They had their bedrooms, had their beds, had a place to take showers, they stayed in the building,” Copp said. “Three of them went to the school that we had there, the other one was in the public school system.”

During this period, Copp says he had durable power of attorney for the four children. He isn’t their biological father, but says he is a father figure to girls. And he isn’t the only one who believes that.

“He was a father figure in our lives,” said the brother of two of the girls. “He taught me everything I know today.” Right now, the girls are in the foster care system, but Copp is not giving up his fight.

“A guilty man would run. I sit here four months later trying to figure out how to get the girls back out, trying to figure out a way to get back out in the community and work with them because I haven’t human trafficked nobody [sic],” Copp said.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office released a statement saying: “The matter is currently under investigation. If anyone has any information regarding this matter, they should contact police.”

News 4 will continue to follow any developments in this story. 

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