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

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Sk8 Fest returns to Arlington The Centennial Sk8 Festival celebrating longboards… Continue reading

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Most Read