ST. FRANCIS -- Police in several communities say they've busted a prostitution ring within a massage business and the man who unknowingly ended up helping uncover this information was the owner!
Police say the investigation started after $300 went missing at the massage parlor.
According to a criminal complaint, John Sherman went to police in April, to say he was missing $300 from his business "Oriental Massage." Police tracked down a suspect, but had no idea it would lead to a massive investigation.
"It just goes to show you it can happen anywhere," said Detective Justin Landry with the Hales Corners Police Department.
Landry says the thief turned informant told police he stole the money after a massage parlor employee took money from him following a sex act.
The man told police customers were getting more than just a massage at "Oriental Massage."
And not just at the one location, but at Sherman's four locations in St. Francis, Franklin, Greenfield and Hales Corners.
"They were coming up from Chicago," said Landry.
Court documents say workers lived in a cramped apartment above Ho Ho's Chinese Restaurant on Howell Avenue in Milwaukee -- and were shuttled to work by Sherman.
Undercover officers were propositioned for "extra services" at multiple locations. In November, prosecutors charged Sherman, his wife, and one of the workers.
"I hate to say it, but there was a red flag, and it doesn't surprise me," said a neighbor.
Of the four locations, those who live nearby are surprised the Hales Corners business remains open.
"With the information you're giving me, yeah it seems like it should be shut down," said a neighbor.
Police say the business will eventually close if the allegations lead to a conviction.
In 2010, Sherman's brother was forced to close down a massage parlor in West Allis after similar allegations. He was never charged.
Police say they are closely monitoring the one business that remains open, and all of the women seen in undercover stings are believed to be back in China.