Stand owner knew bikini barista was 16, police say

EVERETT — An Everett bikini coffee stand owner who was arrested for investigation of sexual exploitation of a minor allegedly knew one of his employees was under the age of 18 when she worked for him.

The owner, Bill Dwayne Wheeler Jr., 29, of Everett, was arrested Wednesday and released from the Snohomish County Jail Thursday after a bail hearing.

In February, Everett police arrested four baristas from two Grab-N-Go espresso stands after they allegedly gave customers sexy shows for tips, a violation of city adult-entertainment codes. During the shows, the baristas, in their teens and 20s, allegedly revealed their private areas to undercover cops.

One of the girls was 16. She allegedly bared her breasts to an undercover detective who recorded the incident, court papers said.

Wheeler reportedly kept tabs on the baristas inside the stands using surveillance video and his cellphone, according to police reports.

“It was learned Wheeler had knowledge the employee was under 18 years of age and even wrote a letter for her so she could start the emancipation process,” Everett police wrote in a statement used to establish probable cause for his arrest.

Sexual exploitation of a minor is a felony in Washington state. According to the law, it can occur when an adult “aids, invites, employs, authorizes or causes a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that such conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance.”

Police allege the activity occurred at two Grab-N-Go espresso stands at 2030 Broadway and 333 SE Everett Mall.

Another man involved in the business also was arrested Wednesday for investigation of sexual exploitation of a minor, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. The second man, 27, later was released pending further investigation. He’s described by police as a co-owner of one stand.

The baristas are accused of misdemeanor-level offenses.

Police called the investigation “Operation Show Stopper.”

The sexy shows reportedly could be seen by drivers, passersby and children at a local school, police said. The city also had concerns about loitering and lewd conduct by customers.

City prosecutors still are reviewing the case against the baristas. Those decisions are expected to happen soon.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Deal reached on water bill clears way for action on capital budget

A lot of funding will to go toward housing, schools and projects in Snohomish County and statewide.

Stormy weather knocks out power to parts of Everett

About 3,700 PUD customers lost electricity in Snohomish County early Thursday morning.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Most Read