An Elkhart massage parlor has closed its doors after a police investigation determined it was likely a front for illicit sexual activity.
From the Office of Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis T. Hill Jr.:
In late October 2015, a purported massage business called “Lemon Spa” opened at the strip mall located at 1808 East Bristol Street, Elkhart.
Shortly thereafter, Prosecuting Attorney Curtis T. Hill, Jr., received information that the massage parlor may, in fact, be a front for illicit sexual activity.
Nearby businesses and residents immediately recognized suspicious activities at the business and reported that it seemed more consistent with a house of ill repute.
The Prosecuting Attorney authorized an investigation into the activities reported at that location and was able to confirm that, in fact, sexual services were being provided to patrons.
Prosecutor’s investigators determined that this particular strip mall is owned by Hamstra-Century Group, LLC.
In furtherance of the investigation, an advertisement for Lemon Spa was found under the “adult entertainment” section of “Backpage.com”, offering “the best massage in town” by “very lovely and very beautiful Asian girls”, claiming “they are pretty, friendly, and well trained” to “TREAT YOU LIKE A KING!!!”
After extensive surveillance by investigators, it should be noted that business was sparse.
Accordingly, rather than expend extensive resources on further investigation, the Prosecuting Attorney directed communication be made to the land owners responsible for leasing the space.
[Wednesday] morning, the owner was placed on notice that they had leased to what appears to be an illegal operation, and from that point further, any activities of an illegal nature confirmed on that site would be the owner’s responsibility. Within hours, the business was shut down, and a sign showing the space is again available for lease appears in the front window.
It is the expectation of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney that property owners leasing space to individuals and or businesses fully understand the nature of the business and/or activities occurring on their property. Law enforcement should not have to concern itself with cleaning up after the messes of the private sector, but we will.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney appreciates the calls and assistance from various members of the community in bringing this problem to light, and, ultimately, a quick resolution.