The men drive along Whiskey Bottom Road in North Laurel with watchful eyes, looking for the prostitutes that just a month ago winked at them.
Howard County police say they've already scared away a handful of streetwalkers who they believe strayed 150 yards across the county line from Anne Arundel County. But some of their customers still search the area for a good time.
Responding to complaints from residents and businesses, police have staged four stakeouts since April and netted 26 men for soliciting prostitution, including 10 Friday.
Howard undercover officers arrested just one prostitute in the first crackdown April 7, but that was enough to encourage the women to return to Anne Arundel, police said.
"We've displaced the women," said Lt. Jeff Spaulding, head of the Vice and Narcotics Section. "It looks like their clientele never got the message."
Lieutenant Spaulding said the street prostitutes turned up along Whiskey Bottom Road between U.S. 1 and the Anne Arundel line earlier this year. Officers noticed them while on patrol.
Police say they will continue to crack down on the problem to maintain community safety. Prostitution often brings problems with assaults, robberies and loitering, they said.
But even now, with the prostitutes gone, potential customers still harass local women passing through the area.
Friday afternoon, in a continuing effort to discourage these men, three undercover female officers strolled along Whiskey Bottom for about three hours -- luring offers for sex that ended in arrests. To attract solicitors, one of the officers wore denim, another tight white shorts and another a snug skirt.
"Welcome to the boulevard," one backup officer, waiting nearby, joked over police radio.
Some men drove by first to build up their courage, before offering the women up to $50 for sex. Some blew kisses to the officers -- and police said they recognized among the men some who had been arrested in just such a game before.
A blue van drove by several times. "There's three of them plastered to the front window," one of the female officers said into the microphone she was wearing.
After passing the women four times, the blue van slowly pulled over. "You want a ride?" the driver asked.
"I can't get in 'til I know what you want," says the officer, the wire under her clothes tuned to officers patiently waiting with handcuffs nearby.
But before the driver made a request for sex in exchange for money, one of the officers waiting nearby responded too early -- resulting in no case. The occupants of the blue van just got a warning and a farewell.
On an opposite corner where another female detective walked, an old woman stopped her vehicle to warn that she would "call the cops" if the woman wouldn't leave.
Police say that's a common complaint. It's what led officers to begin stakeouts there April 7. Female residents complained that men would proposition them while they walked to the store; occasionally residents would bear witness to a sex act in a car parked on their street.
"It's weird," said one of the female detectives who occasionally poses as a prostitute. "Some people look at you with absolute disgust on their faces. You feel like apologizing and saying, 'I'm not who you think I am.'"
But the detective was not the only one bluffing. Many of her clients Friday drove up and asked for directions. They looked respectable, in white shirts and ties.
One man -- who claimed to be a computer salesman when he asked for directions about 10 minutes earlier -- stopped his green Chevrolet Blazer in a lot just behind two undercover detectives.
He got out and fumbled with a briefcase and other boxes in the back of his trunk, sneaking a peak at the women from the corner of his eye. Two minutes later he got in his vehicle, drove over to the women and offers to pay for sex.
This time, officers rushed in and made the arrest. Like many of those arrested, he immediately argued he didn't really want sex.
He joined several other men -- aged 21 to 71 -- in a prisoner van parked behind a nearby building.
They all were charged with misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine. Two were found carrying weapons in their vehicles, a butterfly knife and a four-foot cane sword.
Others now may be deterred by the undercover police sting.
On another corner along Whiskey Bottom Road on Friday, a truck driver who had finally built up enough courage to extend conversation with an attractive blond officer happened to see male officers arrest another customer a block away.
He rolled up his window and drove away.
"I know he's happy," says Lieutenant Spaulding, watching from a nearby van. "He's reformed for the evening."