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Crime & Courts

Four face charges after prostitution bust at Sycamore massage parlor

Monica Synett - msynett@shawmedia.com
Spa One on 610 Plaza Dr. in Sycamore is closed due to a Sycamore Police search warrant after employee In Tobin was arrested for promoting prostitution and customer Dean Kowalefski was arrested for patronizing a prostitute on Thursday June 11, 2015.
Monica Synett - msynett@shawmedia.com Spa One on 610 Plaza Dr. in Sycamore is closed due to a Sycamore Police search warrant after employee In Tobin was arrested for promoting prostitution and customer Dean Kowalefski was arrested for patronizing a prostitute on Thursday June 11, 2015.

SYCAMORE – Four people face charges in connection with a prostitution sting at a spa in Sycamore, police said Friday.

Spa One, 610 Plaza Drive, unit 5 in Sycamore, was closed after a Thursday operation by Sycamore police, who said they would continue to investigate the business. Police said the investigation would include interviews with previous customers who had been identified at the spa.

Dean Kowalefski, 50, of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was charged with patronizing a prostitute, and In H. Tobin, a 53-year-old woman from the 2000 block of North First Street in DeKalb, was charged with three counts of promoting prostitution.

Both offenses are typically punishable by two to five years in prison. The charges were enhanced because of the business’ proximity to Sycamore High School, 62 feet away, Sycamore police Deputy Chief Darrell Johnson said.

Two other employees at the spa, Huyang Kim, 48, and Mi Ra Downing, 49, were charged with misdemeanor prostitution, which is punishable by less than a year in jail. Police said both have previous prostitution convictions.

Kim and Downing were released Thursday after posting bail, Johnson said.

Police had been watching Spa One and taking note of customers’ vehicles as they entered the business. Investigators then stopped customers leaving the business, according to police reports.

Police stopped one more man after he left Spa One, but did not have enough probable cause to detain him, Johnson said.

According to a police report, Kowalefski told an officer that he got a massage at Spa One, but no “extras.” He told police he found it on an Internet classified ad website, records show.

Kowalefski paid $80 for a massage, and an additional $46 for sexual acts, Downing told police.

Downing identified Kowalefski and Tobin from photographs Sycamore police took during the traffic stops and told officials the money Kowalefski paid was stored in a makeup drawer in the front of the office, police said. After getting a search warrant, police found the money in the drawer the employee mentioned.

Tobin is the only employee with a massage therapy license, and Kim told officers she did not know Tobin’s name and referred to her only as “boss,” police reports show.

Kim and Downing told police that they were allowed to keep tips from customers, but that Tobin would keep the $80 fee charged for the massage, Johnson said.

“We have no information to support that they were being forced into participating into something that they didn’t want to do,” he said.

Prostitution reports are uncommon in Sycamore, but there have been at least two so far this year, officials said.

“These types of businesses are simply unacceptable to the citizens of Sycamore,” Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault said. “The police department will continue to hold both the employees and the patrons of such establishments accountable for their actions.”

A similar case was reported to Sycamore police May 11. Police said they received complaints about Star Massage, 225 Gateway Drive in Sycamore.

Chia Xiu Haung, a 45-year-old Chicago woman, was charged with practicing a massage without a license, which is punishable by less than one year in prison, according to a news release sent Friday.

Star Massage has seemingly closed since Haung’s arrest, Johnson said.

Although Spa One is closed as police continue their investigation, the business has not been shut down, Johnson said.

“We’re going to remain vigilant to the area,” he said. “We currently are continuing our investigation.”

Kowalefski and Tobin were held overnight at the DeKalb County Jail. Each posted $500 bail and was released Friday, officials said.

Kowalefski’s next court appearance is July 20, and Tobin’s next court date is July 14.

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