EVERETT, Wash. - An owner of an Everett bikini espresso stand made a court appearance Thursday after he was arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor.
Everett police said Bill Wheeler Jr., the owner of the Grab-N-Go Bikini Hut, was arrested Wednesday because his 16-year-old employee was allegedly caught on a surveillance camera showing her body parts to undercover detectives. The girl was later taken into custody.
Wheeler gave KIRO 7 Eyewitness video of the arrest and said he has nothing to hide.
A number of Wheeler’s employees have also been arrested recently for putting on shows instead of serving coffee, which is a violation of Everett’s cabaret laws.
KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy spoke with one of Wheeler’s employees, 18-year-old Aleesa Matteson, who supported him during his court appearance and said he has not done anything wrong.
“We’re not supposed to shut off surveillance because it’s protection. We can’t shut off surveillance just because it’s a 16-year-old,” Matteson said.
Matteson was one of the employees recently arrested.
Matteson claimed the 16-year-old girl’s parents signed papers allowing her to work at the coffee stand.
Along with Matteson, other baristas thought the girl was of age, which is at least 18 years old. She admitted, as written in the police documents, Wheeler knew otherwise.
Clancy asked Matteson, “When she submitted her paperwork, did she lie on her paperwork as far as her birth date?”
“No. The boss knew her age and everything,” Matteson said.
The judge released Wheeler Thursday evening without bail.