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

Some old Snohomish County road names are rural vestiges

Roads with names aren’t uncommon. Some of the older ones’ namesakes are legacies of local history.

Oh, about that financial aid state lawmakers promised …

It’s Day 9 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Bite-sized solar powers programs at two local nonprofits

Solar energy panels in Arlington will generate savings for organizations in Everett and Stanwood.

Straight-shooting fire chief retires after 40 years

District 7’s Gary Meek was respected for leading, listening and having a great mustache.

Fixing cars, drumming with a rock icon, living with dyslexia

Jack Tutt once traded a drum set for a Ford Bronco. He also hung out with the drummer from Heart.

Front Porch

EVENTS Friends of Edmonds Library meeting The Friends of the Edmonds Library… Continue reading

No more ‘black boxes’ in patrol cars, new sheriff says

The tech was meant to promote traffic safety. Sheriff Adam Fortney said he trusts his deputies.

Sheriff reinstates deputy who was fired over fatal shooting

Sheriff Adam Fortney said his predecessor erred when he concluded Deputy Art Wallin violated policy.

Martin Luther King’s spirit of service, selflessness still needed

A celebration of the Civil Rights leader’s legacy and life reflected on past and present struggles.

Most Read