Massage parlors where the masseuse also serves as a madame are in the cross hairs of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
Smith says that Mesa is home to several "seedy" massage parlors where clients are getting more than just their shoulders and backs rubbed. Smith says he is giving local law enforcement the tools necessary to shut them down.
Smith says that a 2004 rewrite of city code made Mesa a dream come true for "rub-n-tugs" as they are often affectionately referred, and the number of licensed massage parlors has gone from 73 in 2006 to 120 today.
"There are certain business operating procedures and standards that . . . separate the legitimate businesses from the illegitimate businesses," Smith says. "There's a few things that the good guys do and the bad guys don't do, or they do it differently."
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The Mayor says that a lot of these illegal parlors operate in the cover of darkness, and often have covered storefronts in popular strip malls.
Smith says that many of the red-light rubdown spots remain open all night, but police have no authority to check them out.
That is about to change.
The Mayor says he is instructing law enforcement to go after these
"seedy" operations for anything they can, including sanitation,
plumbing, and lighting violations.