BELLEVUE, WA -- Police in Bellevue have rounded up seven more unlicensed masseuses and massage parlors in an ongoing crackdown in the sometimes shadowy world of body work.
Some of those arrested have been busted before, and they are now facing a felony charge and 5 years in prison if convicted. The latest sweep makes a total of 36 arrests since the operation began last September.
It is frustrating to find people we have already arrested on similar violations are out there the next day, illegally working in our city. We will work with the Department of Health to identify, contact and arrest individuals that continue to break the law, said Det. Tor Kraft in a prepared statement.
Lavon Watson, a licensed therapist has been leading a drive to clean up the unlicensed trade saying it puts people and his livelihood at risk.
Any local police department could do the same thing that Bellevue is doing now and find the same problem, he said.
Watson says some of those arrested had falsified credentials, or knowingly hired those who did. He says his industry is working with state regulators to craft solutions, including more stringent checks of those who are transferring in from out of state or in some cases out of the country.