Alleged prostitution under investigation at strip club in Tolland

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:13 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:35 AM EDT
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TOLLAND, CT (WFSB) - Alleged prostitution and sexual activity is under investigation at the Electric Blue Café in Tolland, according to a town official.

Homeland Security and state police have been on scene for several hours Thursday.

“If this was strictly prostitution, it would only be state police, it wouldn’t be homeland security investigation or ICE. So, the fact that they are involved means there’s some aspect that’s federal to this,” said Kenneth Gray, Retired FBI Special Agent, New Haven University.

Town Manager Brian Foley gave an update on the investigation Thursday afternoon:

Tolland Town Manager Brian Foley discusses a Homeland Security and state police investigation at the Electric Blue Café.

Police believe for several years prostitution and sexual activity have occurred at the strip club on Merrow Road.

The town of Tolland has ordered the club to shut down for the next 30 days.

“During the course of the investigation it has been revealed for several years up to and including the present time, we have reason to believe prostitution and sexual activity have occurred on the premises,” said Foley.

Kenneth Gray explained to Channel 3 why, if illegal activity was occurring for years, it took so long for a raid to begin.

“You have to have probable cause to make an arrest. You have to have probable cause to do a search. Probable cause means you have to come up with information that makes you believe a crime is going on. If people are in there that are participants as customers or employees and nobody is talking, it’s hard to get that probable cause unless you put an undercover in,” Gray explained.

Eyewitness News spoke exclusively to one of the club’s dancers.

Cindy Dos Santos said she has been dancing at Electric Blue for a year.

“I like it because it’s busy and I make a lot of money,” Dos Santos said.

But she won’t make any money there today as the investigation continues.

“I showed up and I just seen a bunch of cops outside and it was blocked off I just went to the pizza place and called my ride,” said Dos Santos.

Dos Santos said she doesn’t know what’s going on.

Investigators aren’t saying much.

Eyewitness News has seen a police canine walk around the strip club.

An investigator and a woman were seen speaking for an extended period before heading inside.

A locksmith was seen carrying his toolkit and was allowed inside police lines.

“I might not work there anymore. Because of what’s happening. I need to find out what’s happening first,” said Dos Santos.

Dos Santos is also trying to get a hold of her bosses.

“Nobody’s answering,” she said.

The night club was reportedly fined in 2019 and forced to shut down for two days.

The Liquor Control Commission said the club was cited for several violations.

The violations include improper mingling, display conduct, and permit violations.

The club was fined about $1,600 for those violations in 2019.

Electric Blue is listed as an “upscale adult night club.”

This is a developing story. Stay with Channel 3 for updates.