Needham police arrested two massage therapists on prostitution charges Friday after an undercover sting at two local businesses.
Police had received complaints from nearby residents about Needham Oriental Spa at 60 Dedham Ave. and Best Body Work at 430 Hunnewell St. for months, said Needham Police Lieutenant John Schlittler. They began investigating a couple months ago in connection with the Norfolk County Police Anti-Crime Task Force.
Xiao Cathcart, 47, of Warren, R.I., and Liqing Wan, 49, of Quincy were arrested and charged with sexual conduct for a fee, Schlittler said. Cathcart was arrested at Needham Oriental Spa and Wan was arrested at Best Body Work.
Both women pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in Dedham District Court.
“There was no link between the businesses,” he said.
Police had received general nuisance complaints from residents about increased activity at both establishments, which are in areas close to schools, Schlittler said.
Police also received tips about reviews of each business that were posted online, on websites that review establishments where sexual services are offered.
“The establishments themselves weren’t out there advertising,” he said. “It’s kind of like a review.”
Business records and cash were seized by police during the raid.
Schlittler said that more charges were possible. “In the culmination of the investigation, if it’s appropriate that other people be charged they will be,” he said.
There was one other employee in each of the businesses at the time of the arrests, he said. Those employees are part of the ongoing investigation, but have not been charged.
Schlittler said that at this point it is not clear if the owners of the businesses knew of the alleged prostitution.
“We’re still trying to work it out,” he said. “I don’t have a definite answer on that.”
There were no customers at either establishment at the time of the arrests, he said.
Schlittler said that he could remember one other business raided for alleged prostitution in Needham, in 2008 on Highland Avenue.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org