Geddes (WSYR-TV) -- What looks like an upscale office in the heart of Geddes, isn't what you would think.
Two women are under arrest for prostitution at the “New Spa” on West Genesee Street. It’s the first ever sex-for-money case in the town of Geddes and the operation might extend far beyond just the town.
The shop was in a professional office building, without a name, but with a growing reputation – advertised as New Spa -- it was far from your typical salon. Other than a surveillance camera pointed at the back door, there wasn’t much outside, or inside, but the place was drawing customers and they were all men.
“Customers went to the front door and they came to unlock the door to let them in. Obviously, it wasn’t normal operating procedure for a legitimate business,” said Geddes Police Chief Victor Gillette.
Another red flag went up when Geddes Police found out who was renting the space. Turns out, the space was rented to the same guy who rented space for a very similar operation shut down by State Police a year ago in North Syracuse. Police knew then they had to send someone in – undercover.
The state trooper who worked on the North Syracuse case posed as a customer and just as police expected, was offered sexual favors, as well as a massage, Chief Gillette said.
Police arrested 47-year-old Rongping Han and 49-year-old Lian li Mao from New York City and charged them with prostitution and felony practice of a massage without a license. The man who rented the space hasn’t been caught yet and the investigation may widen to other towns.
“With the time I’ve been on the Geddes Police Department, I don’t recall that we’ve ever made a prostitution arrest before, so we’re looking at 35 years or better,” Chief Gillette told NewsChannel 9.
While prostitution is a misdemeanor, it’s under the State Education Law that the two women are facing a felony charge because they weren’t licensed to massage.