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

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

Boeing marks the start of 777X production at Paine Field

It took tax breaks and union concessions to land assembly of the company’s new jetliner in Everett.

3 fire departments seek levies to support emergency services

District 25 in Oso is hoping to pass its first fire levy in 22 years.

Flood watches end for Snohomish County

No rain is forecast for the rest of the week.

Most Read