A Braceveille massage parlor was raided Thursday by police for the second time in nine months for alleged prostitution inside the state Route 5 building, again catching a customer engaged in a sex act with an employee.
Police Chief William Garro and other officers raided the former Four Seasons Spa, now called the Rose Spa, at 4300 state Route 5 at about 2 p.m. Thursday. The spa has been in business for at least a decade, officials said. They were shut down by a raid in July and reopened last month.
“We retained statements that there were sex acts going on for pay inside this business here, and we investigated those tips and got enough probably cause for a search warrant,” said Garro. “When we entered this business today, we served a search warrant. We found an employee engaged with a customer in a sexual act and we apprehended her and a patron.”
Police said the Rose Spas’ manager and employee could face charges of operating a brothel. The owner could also face charges, police said.
Garro said an investigation revealed at least six men had paid a $50 entrance fee and up to $120 for sex and sex acts.
Garro said they are investigating to see if the same owners and operators are involved.
Police also filed a nuisance-abatement claim that effectively shuts the spa down until an April 12 hearing in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, Garro said.
“Just like the last time, we are looking for evidence of prostitution,” Garro said.
Police raided last raided the spa, then called the Four Seasons Spa, on July 3, catching one customer engaged in sex acts with an employee.
Two people, including the alleged owner, Kay Owens, 62, of Canfield, were charged with crimes. Owens eventually pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated trespass after charges of promoting prostitution were dropped.
Court records say she forfeited more than $11,000, two cell phones, a laptop computer, four televisions, a VHS and DVD player, seven surveillance cameras and a 2007 Toyota Camry. She also agreed to close her business.
The employee, Kyung Hee Lee, was charged with prostitution and eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Officers at the time found condoms wrapped in tin foil and hidden in fake shaving cream canisters.
Court records show at least five customers, including one man who traveled from as far away as Montana, told authorities investigating the spa they paid around $150 for sex acts at the massage parlor.
An affidavit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court said Braceville police conducted surveillance on the spa and pulled over at least one customer a day between June 25 and 29. The information provided by the five customers led to a search warrant.
The spas have been targets of law enforcement during the last year.
Investigators with the state’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation raided eight of the city’s 10 massage parlors in May and the city later shuttered all eight for health code violations.
Records show spa customers from as far away as Shelby, a 120-mile trip, told investigators they paid for sex and sex acts at all eight spas raided.
BCI and the state attorney general’s office is currently reviewing evidence gathered from the spas, including computers, legers and DNA, to see if charges can be filed, including human trafficking, racketeering and money laundering, among others, according to court records and investigators.
If the Four Seasons is shut down, it will leave three spas remaining in Trumbull County, including two in Warren.
The Sunny Spa, which has come under fire recently after a surprise health inspection found a scantily-clad employee helping a naked customer shower, and the
Tiger Spa, are still open in Warren. The third spa, Suzy Kims, is in Niles.
Investigators at the time said the Tiger Spa was not targeted in the May raids because they were closed for renovations at the time. Officials said they have since re-opened, and an advertisement in the Cleveland Scene magazine appeared in the March 20 edition touting a grand opening.