April 30, 2000 09:00pm
Dancers, Customers Arrested
Source: Private Dancer Monthly
(UPLAND, CA) -— An anonymous tip, a hidden video camera and the endorsement of an adult Web site helped investigators determine that some dancers and customers of a local club have been getting too close and way too personal, officials said.
Undercover officers only visited the club a few times before seeing for themselves expressions of intimate contact touted by visitors to an adult Web site, Upland police Lt. Rod Lines said. “We like to think those things don’t occur openly in any club,” Lines said. “There was no attempt to hide this.” Two dancers and four customers have been charged with misdemeanor counts of prostitution in connection with the investigation last month.
Tropical Lei owner Randy Welty, who also owns Club Flesh in San Bernardino and Hawaii Theatre in the City of Industry, was not charged. He declined to comment. The Foothill Boulevard club continued to operate as police released details of a yearlong investigation.
Figuring they might be recognized themselves, Upland investigators recruited police officers from Ontario to go undercover and check out a tip of sexual activity between club dancers and customers. “They were quite surprised at what they were seeing,” Lines said Investigators also gathered evidence using a Web site touting the action at strip clubs that suggested club patrons received “high mileage” — or high-contact — lap dances, Lines said. Police brought the information to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, which asked for additional evidence of wrongdoing. Investigators got what they needed on a hidden video camera, Lines said.
San Bernardino County Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Maxwell said his office has since filed three counts of misdemeanor prostitution against two dancers. Four customers were each charged with one count of misdemeanor prostitution.
Santa Monica attorney Roger Diamond will represent the dancers when they are scheduled to appear at West Valley Superior Court later this month. “The courtroom is the place to try cases,” Diamond said. “Videotapes don’t matter. They always help the defense because the videotapes accurately portrayed what happened.”
Diamond also criticized investigators for releasing information before the six appeared in court. “It is shocking that the police would prejudice the right of the defendant by leaking sensitive information to the media,” Diamond said. “This is unethical and sleazy.”