Vice detectives closed down a Linthicum health spa Friday that they said was violating county zoning laws by selling illegal massages.
Vice-narcotics detectives served a search warrant at Rose Oriental Spa in the 7400 block of Candlewood Road, confiscating business records they think will show that the spa was violating a new county law that requires massage parlors to be licensed.
It was the first raid on an establishment under the law, which went into effect on Dec. 7, said county police Sgt. Thomas Suit.
Theraid, the second in less than a year at the spa, followed a three-week investigation during which time undercover detectives posing as clients were offered massages of the genital area, said investigator Darryl Hagner.
When the officers inquired about joining the spa, they were asked to fill out membership applications and pay $60 for use of the weight-lifting equipment plus one massage.
"Then you would be taken to a back shower room and given a total bath, head to toe, no parts excluded," Hagner said. "Then you are taken to one of the small rooms and given a massage first on your back. Then you are turned over and given a front massage. The final parting remarks to our three undercover officers have been, 'Do you want anything else massaged?' "
When female undercover officers went to the spa, they were shown the weight-lifting equipment, but the word "massage" was never mentioned, Hagner said.
Rose Oriental Spa was shut down in August because it did not have the proper zoning exception to operate. It couldnot be cited for the sexual activity because nothing in county or state law prohibited masturbation in massage parlors.
County Councilman George Bachman, D-Linthicum, who was at Friday's raid, sponsored the new law that outlaws manual stimulation and requires massage parlors to be licensed and its employees trained in giving massages.
Rose Oriental Spa was able to reopen after the August raid when it bought several thousand dollars of athletic equipment and obtained a license as a health spa.
When detectives began their noon raid, they found four women there who said they did not know who their boss was.
Three women said they gave massages and one said she was a cleaning woman. None of them were arrested.
"This is the first enforcement of the new law, and the message is we are not going to tolerate any violations of the law," Suit said.