SPD sex sting nets more than 200 arrests

By: Amy Clancy

Updated:

More than 200 Pacific Northwest medical doctors, PhDs, CEOs, construction workers, students, tech workers, a long-time news industry employee and more have been arrested over the past week in a prostitution sting set-up by the Seattle Police Department.  

For the first time ever, Vice Detectives opened their own “brothel” to make the busts, leading to what Vice Unit Det. Sgt Tom Umporowicz called the most successful prostitution sting effort in SPD history.

A KIRO 7 hidden camera was rolling on Wednesday as one by one, dozens of men were arrested, placed into handcuffs and taken to a nearby apartment for processing; all in plain view of multiple University District construction projects in the 4700 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast.

“We’re running our own illicit massage parlor,” Umporowicz told KIRO 7. 

He said the SPD is working to curb the sex industry by targeting demand.

Early last week, Umporowicz posted an online ad announcing the “Grand Opening” of the “Euro Spa” where “our pleasure is to pleasure you with our young, European girls.”

On the first day of “business”, July 5th, Umporowicz said customers were lined-up outside, waiting to enter the “massage parlor.”

Since then, an average of 20 men per day have been arrested.

"The first day, I think we had 28 total arrests,” Umporowicz said.  “We’ve also had about a dozen or so people watching us march people out in handcuffs with our badges out.  They watch the squad cars come up, and they go inside anyway and commit the crime.”

Umporowicz said some customers have left the phony business without offering to pay for sex.  Others were arrested only after they offered money in exchange for sexual favors.  According to Umporowicz, more than $20,000 in cash has been seized from customers in the past week.

It will be up to the Seattle City Attorney's office to decide whether criminal charges will be filed in each case.  Each suspect was booked into the King County Adult Detention Center in downtown Seattle on suspicion of sexual exploitation, then released without having to post bail. 

If convicted, each suspect could face a minimum fine of $2,733.50, according to the Vice Det. Sgt.

Umporowicz said the “massage parlor” is expected to close its doors for good on Thursday.

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