This is the third time since 2006 that Boise police made prostitution arrests at the Aloha and Apple spas, and the fourth time for arrests at the Hong Kong spa. Shutting down businesses where similar offenses take place repeatedly can be complicated, said Craig Croner, administrative services manager for the city. Often, owners sell their businesses sometimes to a friend or family member after a violation and suspension, Croner said. The company later reopens, conducting the same type of business under the same name.
The change of ownership complicates efforts to stop the illegal acts, he said.
Croner said he was speaking generally and would not say whether that scenario had occurred at the Aloha, Apple or Hong Kong spa.
Croner wasnt sure what sanctions, if any, the city levied against those parlors in response to earlier busts.
Boise detectives and neighborhood contact officers went to the Aloha, J, Apple, Hou, Sunflower and Hong Kong spas at the same time Wednesday afternoon. Officers said the women offered them sex for money after the officers entered the spas and paid for massages.
Prosecutors charged the six business owners with misdemeanor counts of allowing employees to give massages without a city license, violating sanitary requirements and allowing employees to live at the businesses. Efforts to contact representatives of the parlors were unsuccessful.
Six masseuses were charged with prostitution.
If the arrests result in convictions, the parlors and masseuses 60-day business license suspensions could become permanent, Croner said. Croner said hell decide on permanent revocation after the criminal cases are resolved.
Croner said he suspended the licenses of as many as four other masseuses in addition to the six women who were arrested.
Police officers said they began receiving complaints about the spas several weeks ago from people who suspected prostitution was occurring. Sgt. Mike Harrington characterized the investigation as a quality of life issue for the people who went to the police.
We do our best to make it a priority to investigate when it becomes a priority for citizens to complain about criminal activity, said Harrington, who runs the Boise police vice unit. We have to focus our resources where the problems are occurring. We know this type of activity may be taking place, so we appreciate citizens who can point to areas where its becoming an issue.
Croner said he and other members of the city clerks office collaborated with police on the sting operation.
This was in the works for the last couple weeks, he said.
If the defendants appeal their suspensions, a hired examiner will hear their cases, deputy city clerk Jamie Heinzerling said. The examiners finding could subsequently be appealed to the City Council, Heinzerling said.
City code violations, such as employing an unlicensed masseuse, allowing illegal acts and illegally having alcohol on the premises, are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $300 fine.
Prostitution is a state offense and a general misdemeanor, carrying maximum penalties of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Sven Berg: 377-6275; Patrick Orr: 377-6219