MASON CITY — A worker at a Mason City massage business has been charged with prostitution.
Mason City police made the arrest Wednesday afternoon after searching Asian Body Work, 546 E. State St.
Suling Lu, 48, was arrested on one count of misdemeanor prostitution. Police say she was an employee.
“We have been doing an investigation for several weeks at Asian Body Work after we received complaints about people being able to pay for sex acts,” said Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley.
An advertisement posted on backpage.com, promotes Asian Body Work’s address as offering great services and a relaxing atmosphere with “Pretty Professional Asian Bodyworkers with candles and soft music.”
The listing was posted Wednesday in the website’s adult entertainment section.
No one answered the phone Wednesday evening at a number listed in Asian Body Work’s online advertisements. A message said the voicemail box was full and could not accept messages
Several police officers and an agent from Homeland Security Investigations participated in the investigation Wednesday afternoon.
They seized money, massage equipment, record-keeping devices and documents, Brinkley said.
Some people walked up to the business during the investigation.
A man wearing a plaid shirt and stocking hat walked into Asian Body Work while officers were still inside. After a few minutes, police escorted him back to his car and allowed him to drive off.
About 10 minutes later, another man started to turn his car into Asian Body Work’s parking lot at the same time an unmarked police car was leaving the lot. The man quickly swerved his car back on the road, looking over his shoulder at the unmarked car as he drove east down State Street.
“It has taken some time, but I think we’ve been able to close this down, I think permanently, here today,” Brinkley said.
More arrests are possible, he said.
In addition to the police investigation, Asian Body Work was white-tagged as uninhabitable by city officials due to alleged fire hazards.
A notice posted in the business’s front window stated the building’s basement had been used for habitation without egress or a fire-suppression device.
A second note purporting to be from the landlord declared tenants have until 11 a.m. Friday to remove all property.
Online property records list Kirk Johnson and Kathleen Graves, of Mason City, as having the contract for the property. Scott and Jean Bennett are the deed holders.
Johnson had no comment.