EVERETT, Wash. (AP/The Loop) — Five Washington state baristas charged customers to touch their breasts and buttocks at an espresso stand where servers wear bikinis to draw business, police said.
The five were charged Wednesday with prostitution. Charging money for that kind of touching falls under the city’s definition of prostitution.
The Everett Herald reports the women were charging up to $80 to strip down while fixing lattes and mochas.
During a two-month investigation, detectives also saw the women lick whipped cream off each other and pose naked for pictures at the Grab-n-Go Espresso stand in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle.
Owner Bill Wheeler told KCPQ-TV employees sign a policy prohibiting the kind of behavior alleged by police. He said anyone caught doing anything illegal would be fired.
The women, ages 18 to 24, were not arrested, said Sgt. Robert Goetz. They were expected to be in Municipal Court in a few weeks to answer misdemeanor charges.
Police have received more than 40 complaints in the past year of women exposing themselves at coffee stands. Goetz said the department investigated Grab-n-Go because it had the most complaints.
“This was about alleged conduct, not about what the women were wearing,” he said. “They could have been wearing parkas and if they continued to conduct themselves that way, we still would have filed the criminal charges.”
Undercover detectives began posing as customers in mid-July.
During one visit, a barista allegedly told a detective that for $20, she and another barista would give him a show. He paid and they bared their breasts and pulled down their undergarments.
The women also charged customers to play “basketball,” a game in which customers threw wadded up money at the women, who caught the money in their underwear, detectives said.
The city council is expected to decide next week whether to change the city’s lewd conduct ordinance to cover espresso stands.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.