Larchmont Massage Parlor Raided; 2 Charged With Prostitution

by Judy Silberstein

(November 29, 2006) Police arrested two women for prostitution in a massage parlor on the second floor of a Larchmont commercial building around 8 pm on Friday, November 24. Marlen Lopez (aka Dayanna Zuniga), 30, of the Bronx and Shirley Valencia, 35, of Queens, were also charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, a class E felony that carries a charge of up to 4 years in prison. Ms. Lopez has previous arrests for prostitution in Queens and Nassau. Ms. Valencia, the manager of the establishment, was also charged with promoting prostitution. She has no related prior arrests.

The two women were taken to the Westchester County Jail, where they stayed until their arraignment in Larchmont Village Court on Tuesday, November 28 before Judge Thea Beaver. Both cases were adjourned until December 12. Bail was set at $4000 for Ms. Valencia and $2000 for Ms. Lopez.

The massage parlor, which advertised itself in the Journal News as Rio Aromatherapy and Body Work, had been operating for approximately 8 months in a space above D’Agostino Clothiers on the corner of Larchmont Avenue and Gilder Street, one block from both Chatsworth School and the Larchmont Police Department.

According to Larchmont Police Chief Steve Rubeo, “We received anonymous complaints that the place was being used as a brothel.” Undercover police from Westchester County had been sent in on a series of occasions stretching over a number of months. On at least some of the dates, the police allege, there was solicitation to engage in a sexual act.

“This is part of a larger on-going, county-wide investigation,” said Chief Rubeo. However, the women arrested in Larchmont do not appear to be affiliated with those arrested for similar offenses earlier this month at massage parlors in Greenburgh, White Plains and Elmsford, all of whom appeared to be from Asian countries.

Chief Rubeo estimated it has been 7 or 8 years since Larchmont has seen a similar case. At that time, police shut down a massage parlor operating above stores on the Boston Post Road a half block east of Village Hall.