Bikini baristas charged with prostitutionSeptember 24, 2009 @ 6:39 am (Updated: 7:46 pm - 9/25/09 )
Police say local baristas who offered much more than mochas at an Everett coffee shack have been charged with prostitution.
Everett Police say their undercover prostitution investigation focused on the Grab and Go coffee stand on Broadway where baristas allegedly stripped down, while whipping up lattes.
Police say they charged customers to touch their breasts and buttocks, which falls under the city's definition of prostitution.
The Everett Herald reports the women were charging up to $80 to strip down while fixing lattes and mochas.
During a two-month investigation, detectives also saw the women lick whipped cream off each other and pose naked for pictures at the Grab-n-Go Espresso stand on Broadway.
Owner Bill Wheeler told KCPQ-TV employees sign a policy prohibiting the kind of behavior alleged by police. He said anyone caught doing anything illegal would be fired.
The women, ages 18 to 24, were not arrested, said Sgt. Robert Goetz. They were expected to be in Municipal Court in a few weeks to answer misdemeanor charges.
Police have received more than 40 complaints in the past year of women exposing themselves at coffee stands. Goetz said the department investigated Grab-n-Go because it had the most complaints.
"This was about alleged conduct, not about what the women were wearing," he said. "They could have been wearing parkas and if they continued to conduct themselves that way, we still would have filed the criminal charges."
Undercover detectives began posing as customers in mid-July.
During one visit, a barista allegedly told a detective that for $20, she and another barista would give him a show. He paid and they bared their breasts and pulled down their undergarments.
The women also charged customers to play "basketball," a game in which customers threw wadded up money at the women, who caught the money in their underwear, detectives said.
An employee at the stand, who prefers to remain unnamed, told KIRO Radio she and her co-workers have signed policies agreeing not to put ingredients on their bodies, not to make sexual gestures, and not to expose certain body parts.
Wheeler told KIRO Radio several Everett police officers and county sheriffs have harassed the girls. "It's more illegal activity that these police are doing that they're covering up because the girls won't date them, go out with them, and everything else."
"They'll make comments like 'You should be wearing less than this' and 'If it was up to us, we'd have you guys wearing nothing,'" the employee said.
The woman said on several occasions, officers would ask the girls to twirl around and then bend over to touch their toes.
"There's a sheriff that comes through with his crew. They've pulled us over numerous times, never tickets, just pulling us over. I've even had one of them come by my house. I don't even know how he found out where I live. He just came by my house and knocked on the door and said 'Oh, I was just in the area,'" she said.
The city council is expected to decide next week whether to change the city's lewd conduct ordinance to cover espresso stands.
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