Last week, the arrested Yan Qin, 39, of New York for alleged prostitution while working at Jade Massage at 3 Post Office Square in Clinton.
Chief of Police Todd Lawrie explained the investigative process which began many months ago.
"Initially, our investigation yielded a straight massage shop with no verifiable information about anything other than massages taking place," said Lawrie.
More than a year ago, the Clinton Police put into place an investigation involving surveillance and a cooperating witness. There were no undercover policemen involved in the case.
They conducted a thorough investigation that involved months of work verifying, collaborating and researching, they said.
"We needed to cover all our bases and have an iron-clad arrest," said Lawrie.
The chief said in order to go to court with a warrant for an arrest, they needed a first-hand complaint by a client, which they did not have.
"We deal with facts, not speculation," he said.
Other complaints revolved around zoning issues such as the possible lack of permits, questions over the zoning for the massage business, lack of a massage license, department of health concerns, etc., that the police have heard.
"Normally these things are not a police matter they are a zoning matter," said Lawrie. "Unless they are breaking the law, the police are not involved in town zoning regulations."
Another issue involved the language barrier. All of the workers appeared to be Asian, said the chief, and possibly not in this country legally.
Lawrie sympathized with local businesses, but said clearly that complaints of teenagers soliciting, girls walking the streets, girls leaving the place of business with a client, girls conducting their business in vehicles parked on the street, etc., were "not true initially."
Business owner Catherine Zamecnik, who owns the next door to Jade Massage, disagrees.
"A photo of my store was initially in the photo on the internet ad for Jade Massage," said Zamecnik. "Guys were walking into my store wandering around and confused that it was a music store."
Zamecnik said when she first started complaining about the business, there were threatening messages left on her door and one of her customers had a brick placed on the roof of their car.
"It's nothing you can prove," she said.
Zamecnik said many parents drop off their kids at her store for music lessons.
"I feel it is my responsibility for these kids as they wait for their parents. I didn't want them possibly seeing what was going on next door," she said.
She said the massage operation should have been monitored very closely by the town - whether it was the police or zoning or another official.
"There's an easy fix here," she said. "The town needs to monitor a place like this daily or weekly to make sure every therapist has a valid license. Every time they change hands we need to see that license. We owe that to the customers and the community."
According to records in the town clerk's office, there is a Massage Therapist Permit Application on file for Yu Jing Hou, 47, of Linden Street, Valley Stream, New York, license #005681 current through April 30, 2012. A phone number listed for this address on Whitepages was not working.
According to the town's zoning department, the 3 Post Office Square location is in the B3 zone which allows for retail businesses. A massage/spa/hair salon category falls under retail. A building permit for interior renovations was granted to Wentao Wang. The phone number on file for Wang was not in service.
The police are still investigating the business and are continuing to work with the town's zoning department and regional health department.
"There may be further arrests," said Lawrie.
Arresting one employee does not necessarily shut down a business, he said. If the town's zoning allows for the business and there is at least one owner of the business who is a licensed massage therapist, they can continue to run the business.
It does appear that Jade has moved to a new location at the corner of West Main Street and John Street at the entrance to the train station. There is a sign in front of the white building facing East Main. No one answered the door at the alleged new business location.