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Edmonds Police Defend Time Frame in Bikini Barista Arrests at Java Juggs

After story goes viral and draws criticism, Edmonds Police Sgt. Don Anderson says actual undercover investigation began in April.

The Edmonds Police Department is defending itself after its undercover investigation of a bikini barista coffee stand drew condemnation and sarcastic comments nationwide.

Most of the public comments centered on the investigation’s nine-month time frame, which the police say doesn’t accurately reflect the amount of time officers spent on the case.

It was in October that the EPD, responding to public comments, began its investigation of three Java Juggs Espresso stands, including one in Edmonds. It ended recently with the arrest on June 30 of business owner Carmela Panico and three employees in Edmonds and could be facing charges that include prostitution and unlawful exposure. Some of the violations allegedly involved physical contact with a barista in exchange for money.

The story on gained nationwide attention after it was picked up and prominently displayed by Huffington Post which, like Patch, is owned by AOL.

“This investigation was a response to complaints from Edmonds citizens,” said Sgt. Don Anderson of the EPD. Anderson is a spokesman for the department whose official title is Professional Standards Sergeant.

“Frankly,” adds Anderson, “I'm not concerned about what people in Seattle, Renton or the readers of the Huffington Post think.”
 
Readers certainly let their feelings be known. Most of the comments were snarky.

“Nine months to catch these girls doing illegal things? Yeah, I think the cops were enjoying this sting operation a little too much and kept reporting to their boss, We need just a little more time."

“I can't believe they actually spent time and money on this.”

“Wow, are you serious. There must be no real crime in that district. How many times did the officers have to watch the girls expose themselves before they deemed it unlawful? Pathetic.”

Not all comments were negative:

“Leave the officers of Edmonds alone! Honoring illegal activity for your own personal gain and putting law enforcement down is weak!”

“I, for one, am glad they finally shut that place down—hope the one a block from my house is soon to follow. All complaints about free speach aside, the stands attract a very bad element to the neighborhood.”

Anderson said officers did not spend nine months staking out Java Juggs.

“The actual investigation (an officer in plain clothes going to the business for the first time) didn't begin until the middle of April,” he said. “The investigation was conducted by a plainclothes street crimes investigation unit who were working on several matters at the same time. This wasn't their only ongoing investigation or their only priority, but enough complaints came in from the community that it was obvious we had an obligation to investigate.

“Their other duties,” Anderson adds, “combined with the fact that this matter involved three different businesses, several different employees engaging in illegal activity, and required a significant level of evidence to support prosecution, is the reason that this investigation took as long as it did.”

michael lappert July 11, 2011 at 05:13 AM
If this little stand were located next to your home, you would be screaming bloody murder to get the cops to shut it down. Anderson's comment about not caring what Huffington Post readers think is great. Good for him.
john smith July 11, 2011 at 05:17 AM
So the taxpayers paid the cops to be johns, and the girls got picked up for be'n whores, so then when do the cops and taxpayers get charged with paying for sex acts?
john smith July 11, 2011 at 05:21 AM
I have 3 strip clubs close to my house, I don't go, you have a titty coffe bar by your house, go somewhere else, o but wate, there realy isn't very meny capachino options in washington is there, so you non perves have to get it there and the evil girls force boobs on you boobs.
Kevin O'Donnell July 11, 2011 at 06:52 AM
Isn't this place a drive thru? Since when does physical contact qualify as prostitution? Were they doing the dance (I have to be careful because the Patch took all of my posts down last time, none of which were inappropriate under the First Amendment; they weren't fighting words, obscene, incitement, a true threat, nor defamatory or libelous) in the coffee shop? Or does Edmonds P.D. consider a squeeze from the window to be prostitution? Sgt. Anderson (Barney Fife) makes it sound like these convictions are a slam dunk. I'm interested to see if any of these women fight the charges. If the city was concerned about the secondary effects or the "raincoat crowd," then they should have used erogenous zoning before allowing Java Juggs to start its business at that location. Then again, maybe the convictions are already a done deal. It's worth talking about even though Sgt. Anderson doesn't care what anyone outside the city limits of Edmonds thinks.
Nibor Ceenelo July 11, 2011 at 10:06 AM
Way to go Edmonds Police! These "people" that go to these stands have no idea what a real job is, apparently and have nothing but time to put those down that are doing their jobs. I have seen gross freaks hanging outside these shacks and this just goes to prove the low life that frequents these places. Keep up the good work ridding our town of mice and lice!
tittywiggle July 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Sex is healthy. Coffee is not. Shut down Edmond's doughnut shops!
R Luno July 11, 2011 at 03:45 PM
So, The Edmonds Patch is owned by AOL. Get me out of here!
Alfred Neuman July 11, 2011 at 03:55 PM
It's worthy to note that none of these three stands have been shut down. And they won't be, guaranteed. Things will be back to "normal" in a few weeks, the courts will levy fines, the revenue will be collected, and the cycle will start again. If the city governments need the money, they should come out and say it. It would save a lot of time and effort just to collect a monthly stipend from these stands. I bet the owner would even agree to it.
Alfred Neuman July 11, 2011 at 04:35 PM
I would also like to mention that I am not "anti-cop", I know they have a hard job to do. I think think their job is made harder at the legislative level. They are charged with protecting our individual rights and so many laws are flawed in that they are based on private agendas and morals, rather than personal freedoms and liberty.
Susan July 11, 2011 at 06:19 PM
I have to say that I am very upset with Sgt. Don Anderson comments that he does not care what people think. I am an Edmonds Resident have been for over 40 years and when I saw this story the first thing I thought was "You have to be kidding me ...who takes 9 months to investigate bikini baristas." I think it is a case of poor judgment on the part of those in charge at the police department including Sgt. Don Anderson. The story did not go into details about the case so I do not know if the charges a warrented or not but I have to say when thousands of people are questioning your judgment your response really should be something other than "I don't care". When the whole world is saying something is ridiculous perhaps it is because it is! And as a residence I disturbed to hear you don't care what I think. My taxes pay your salary!
steve shay July 11, 2011 at 07:06 PM
I am still waiting for Patch to post some of those incriminating photos of the naughty baristas. Only then will I make up my mind about all this.
Jake Tyler July 11, 2011 at 07:51 PM
I tend to agree with Steve Shay. Also, in the early 90's the City of Yonkers had bikini weenies (we are not as sophiticated on the east coast). All of the hot dog stands were owned by a Yonkers Cop! Beleive it or notthe only reason they were closed down was because a cop owned them
Jim Coiro July 12, 2011 at 10:09 AM
Gee, I feel so protected with everyone else making moral judgements for me it's kinda like living in Russia where everything is no. I wish someone would write an American Constitution where I could decide.

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