Officers arrested six suspected prostitutes and cited 10 massage therapists who didn't have licenses. But they say code violations can make business owners more accountable.
The five Clovis massage parlors where suspected prostitutes were arrested on Tuesday were all open a day later. Workers at a salon next door to one of the parlors, "Spa Thai" Thai massage, said they often notice inappropriate behavior in the parking lot.
Manicurist Shari Brown said, "There's men that sit and fondle themselves in their vehicles and then adjust themselves and walk into the building. That's only obvious."
Corporal Vince Weibert of the Clovis Police Department said inspectors also found several building code violations including unsafe electrical work. Weibert said, "We also located at one of the businesses at least two baths were added and weren't done in any professional or sanitary manner."
Spa Thai was cited for adding living space without any permits.
Clovis Mayor pro-tem Lynne Ashbeck said the city can better crack down on illegal activity in massage parlors by attacking on different fronts. Ashbeck explained, "We have building, occupancy requirements, we have fire permits and then we have the legal-illegal act so I think it gives us a better chance to put them in a boundary."
Fresno Police assisted Clovis Police in the investigation. Sgt. Curtis Chastain said the women always seem to be on the move. Chastain said, "I suspect it is a transient group of individuals who might go from massage parlor to massage parlor."
One of the women arrested was 61-year old Buachan Hatfield. Back in July, Sontaya Rose confronted Hatfield outside a Fresno massage parlor.
Sontaya asks: "Tina, do you always offer sex to your customers?"
Replies: "No, no."
Sontaya asks: "Why did you today?
Replies: "I'm not."
Sontaya asks: "You didn't offer to have sex?"
Replies: "I'm not"
Buachan Hatfield is known to customers as Tina. All six women arrested for solicitation of prostitution were booked and processed by Clovis police and then released.