Cicero, N.Y. — A Cicero foot spa was raided Thursday afternoon after a months-long investigation revealed the business was selling sex, police said.
Around 1 p.m., Cicero police and State Police executed a search warrant at Shufu Foot Spa, 8033 Brewerton Rd., said Cicero Police Chief Steve Rotunno.
A 43-year-old woman and a 55-year-old woman were arrested and charged with prostitution, unauthorized practice and unlicensed massage. (Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard is not publishing the names of those charged because they are possibly victims of sex trafficking.)
The two women were living in the building which is not zoned for living quarters. It is common for employees at this type of spa to live inside the business, Rotunno said. It is possible that more people were living and working there, he said.
The Onondaga District Attorney’s Office special victims unit is assisting with the case to ensure the safety of the two women charged, Rotunno said. Although they are charged with crimes, they are still considered victims, he said.
The investigation into the spa began sometime in March, Rotunno said. Just a month prior, in February, Cicero Police raided Lily Relax Station Spa, 8167 Brewerton Rd. The two spas are just half a mile away from one another.
Rotunno said that this has been a reoccurring problem in Cicero. This raid was the third conducted in town this year.
“For whatever reason they like Cicero,” he said.
Police became aware of the illegal activity after tips came in from the community, Rotunno said. This is typically how the investigations begin, he said.
Cicero police contacted the State Police Community Stabilization Unit to assist with the investigation because they have worked on similar cases, including the raid in February.
During the raid, police and troopers were assisted by a town of Cicero code enforcement officials. In addition to the living quarters there were many other code violations, officials said.
The owner of the building was contacted before the raid and has been cooperating with police, Rotunno said. The building owner is not the owner or operator of the spa.
The building is home to one other business, a smoke shop, that was not related to the spa or the investigation in any way.
The investigation will continue as police and troopers use the evidence collected during the raid to piece together the extent of the illegal activities occurring at the spa.
The spa is owned by Tao Peng of Liverpool, according to Onondaga County business records.
Staff writer Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? You can reach her at [email protected].