UPDATED: Brothel on Bainbridge

A brothel recently closed on the south end of Bainbridge Island shortly after police began investigating a local prostitution ring.

Operating out of a rental house until last month, the brothel had three or more resident prostitutes who served clientele from all over Kitsap County, including the island, Bainbridge police confirmed on Monday.

“It had heavy traffic and a lot of activity at all times – day and night,” Lt. Sue Shultz said.

Police learned of the brothel after receiving over a dozen complaints from neighbors. In a few cases, would-be clients accidently went to the wrong address or were spotted sneaking around in backyards.

“Neighbors were getting odd knocks during the middle of the night, with men asking for (prostitutes) by name,” Shultz said.

The February arrest of four prostitutes during a sting operation at a Bainbridge hotel also produced information about the brothel.

No one was arrested in connection with the brothel. Police had been staking out the brothel in preparation for possible arrests when it suddenly ceased operation and the tenants moved away. Police believe the brothel’s occupants closed shop after learning of the investigation.

“(Arrests) could have been our ultimate goal,” Shultz said. “But our proactive policing resulted in them packing their bags and moving. That may also serve the community as well.”

The prostitutes’ whereabouts are unknown, and police have ceased their investigation.

Police said the prostitutes were advertising their services through the Craigslist Web site. Two of the prostitutes were recognized as having prostitution arrest records. None of the prostitutes were from Bainbridge. At least one was from Bremerton.

Police contacted a few of the suspected clients but did not make arrests due to lack of evidence.

“We didn’t catch them in the act,” Shultz said.

Police would not disclose the exact location of the brothel as a courtesy to the neighborhood. Shultz said the brothel, which is now vacant, was in the southwest part of the island.

Noting the rarity of the case, Shultz said she cannot recall any other brothels operating on Bainbridge.

Many south end residents were unaware of the brothel’s existence.

“I’m amazed,” said Iver McDougal, president of the South Bainbridge Neighborhood Association and 30-year island resident. “A lot of people, I know, will be surprised and not very happy.”

Brothels don’t fit the image many have of Bainbridge, he said. The island has relatively low crime and boasts a well-educated and wealthy populace.

“We’re an upscale community and I think we have a sort of upscale self-image,” he said.

Kevin Dwyer, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, said the brothel’s operators may have taken advantage of the common belief that serious crime doesn’t occur on the island.

“We’re perceived as a safe place and maybe people here are more trusting,” he sadi.

The February prostitution arrests and the brothel operation may hint that Bainbridge isn’t as isolated and quaint as some may have thought, he added.

“It’s a little shocking that it’s happening here, but Bainbridge Island is, unfortunately, changing and beginning to look like other places,” he said. “We’re a part of the real world, not some emerald isle where everything is beautiful and there’s no crime and everybody is upstanding.”

2 thoughts on “UPDATED: Brothel on Bainbridge

  1. This reads like nothing more than a police press release confabulation. Where are the facts? This appears to be nothing more than unsubstantiated headline-grabbing claims. If the cops had grounds to believe that a crime was actually happening at this “southwest part of the island”, why didn’t they arrest someone? Instead they had to import hookers from King County and Bremerton to make any arrests. I suspect that since they couldn’t even make a misdemeanor case against someone, the police are exaggerating their suspicions to overstate what may have gone on. I wish the press had a reporter that actually researches these things before they blindly print a press release. Lucky for the city of Bainbridge that their police didn’t release any names associated with this case. Would have been a slam dunk lawsuit for libel and slander.

  2. I have never seen the BIPD release the names of anyone allegedly involved in any crimes on the Island, at least least not before they were formally charged. Can’t say the same for a lot of bloggers. It’s a good thing most of us know who they are. It makes it easier to discount their rants.

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