BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. - Authorities are investigating whether the owner of a Bridgeville building housing a spa they raided knew it was being used for prostitution, and the FBI is investigating if it was also a front for human trafficking.
“It seems as though everyone else in the building knew what was going on,” said Bridgeville Police Chief Chad King.
Police on Tuesday arrested three women working at Spa 88, a massage parlor entered from the alley behind 600 Washington Avenue in Bridgeville, following a 14-month undercover investigation that led police to believe the women were selling sex.
King said he planned to interview building owner Kevin Biber, who is the South Fayette tax collector, on Wednesday. Channel 11’s Jodine Costanzo reported that Biber also runs a financial business directly above the massage parlor.
Biber told officers Tuesday he didn't know about the prostitution activity in the spa.
“I still find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t know what his tenants were doing,” Kareen Demchak, who works nearby, said.
The women -- Ok Ja Ko, 52; Chong Hee Kil, 57, and Heemae Jeong, 58 -- are charged with prostitution and conspiracy. Kil also is charged with promoting prostitution.
FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba said the bureau's Human Trafficking Coalition is investigating whether the business was using women who were involuntarily pressed into prostitution and if anyone should face federal charges.
King said the three women denied working against their will. Ko, Kil and Jeong were released after posting bond and King said though those three women were the targets of the investigation, it wasn't clear how many other women worked at the spa since it opened in 2011.
As the owner of the building, Biber could face a municipal citation for “maintaining a disorderly house,” King said.
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.