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Sex for sale in the SCV?

Posted: September 10, 2008 10:21 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Employees at the shopping center in the 23000 block of Valencia Boulevard were still suspicious Wednesday about the activities at L&V Asia Massage parlor.

The parlor was raided last month on suspicion the deep muscle massages were going a little too far, a sheriff's official said.

Linna Bernier, 50, of Valencia, and Guiying Tang, 48, of Arcadia, were arrested and charged with prostitution after a sting by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Bureau Morals Team, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's station.

The raid wasn't a surprise to one neighboring business.

"We had a feeling," said Nicole Keo, receptionist for Town Center Chiropractic. Her office is one door down from the massage parlor in a strip mall on Valencia Boulevard near Cinema Drive.

Another employee said he wondered how the business stayed open with so little daytime activity.

"I guess it's more of a nighttime business, and I go home at 6 p.m.," he said.

Keo said it was a chiropractic patient who became suspicious enough to tip sheriff's deputies about the alleged lewd activity.

A tip received on the sheriff's Web site prompted a sting operation, Cambra said. Undercover agents allegedly discovered sex was being exchanged for money, and the arrests were made, she said.

L&V Asia Massage is still open. Soft new age music plays in the waiting area; a sign on the wall advertises Shiatsu and deep muscle massages. Nothing alludes to erotic massage or sex.

Two employees at the massage parlor Wednesday refused to give their names, and one said she was not working at the business at the time of the arrests.

She also said she has never heard or seen anyone exchange money for sex at the business.

Mum was the word at two restaurants in the strip mall. Thai Dishes and Margarita's Mexican Grille declined comment.

Cambra said prostitution isn't a big problem in Santa Clarita. However, the arrests made at the L&V Asia Massage weren't the only prostitution arrests made Aug. 12.

Rebecca Norton, 21, of Hemet was arrested at a hotel in Stevenson Ranch and charged with misdemeanor prostitution. Deputies searching the Web site craigslist.org found Norton's advertisement, Cambra said.

"Detectives routinely peruse Craig's list to investigate prostitution and get leads," she said.

Detectives don't know how long Norton allegedly worked in Santa Clarita before she was arrested.

Prostitutes can move around easily, and the Internet makes them even more mobile, Cambra said. "All they need is laptop and a wireless connection," she said.

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