Massage parlors raided by police open their doors

NOW: Massage parlors raided by police open their doors

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. --- The string of local massage parlors that were raided by police and shut down back in July are now back open for business. The four parlors were searched for evidence and potential victims in a possible connection to human trafficking and prostitution.

Staff inside two of the parlors tell ABC57 that they are now under new ownership.

However, neighboring businesses question whether the suspected illegal practices are gone.

“That’s disturbing because it just happened,” says Rebecca Polito, owner of Polito’s. “It’s not even three months, and they’re already back.”

Just three months later, the string of massage parlors shut down and raided by St. Joseph County Police are back open.

“Maybe under another name, maybe under another color, maybe under another façade but they’re still doing the same thing so that’s going to have to be addressed one way or another,” Polito says.

Even though two of the massage parlors say they’ve changed ownership, Polito questions whether suspected human trafficking a prostitution has changed.

“I want to know who I’m around, I want to know my surroundings, and I want my neighbors to know,” Polito says. “Not to be nosy, this is not a nosy issue. This is a safety issue for us as a community to stay safe.”

The thought of another police raid worries Polito, believing it could have been a dangerous situation for everyone in the strip of businesses.

“That raid could have been worse,” Polito says. “It could have been a shootout, they could’ve gone to any of our businesses, put themselves in here and lock themselves up in our businesses, anything could have happened. It could have been far worse but thank God it wasn’t.”

For now, Polito says she will continue to keep an eye out on activity at the parlor and have a plan in place with other businesses in case of suspicious activity.

“I keep my distance and I watch,” says Polito. “This is something I’m going to be aware of, this is something I’m going to bring to the attention of my landlord, and talk to my neighbors and see like “What are we going to do if this is happening again?’”

The two businesses that told ABC57 they are under new ownership also mentioned that the previous owners have moved out of state and have no connection to the reopening of the parlors.

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