The Petaluma Police Department is conducting an investigation after receiving complaints from citizens that illegal sexual activity is occurring at local massage parlors.

"We have received complaints regarding a couple of locations, and we're conducting investigations. After receiving complaints, we take the information we have been given and conduct investigations that typically involve setting up surveillance operations," said Lt. Matt Stapleton.

He did not disclose the names of the massage parlors, and would not discuss recent reports that have been received regarding prostitution at motels or massage parlors.

"This could jeopardize any operations that we have planned," Stapleton said.

In October of 2009, undercover police officers went to five local massage parlors during a two-day sting to find out if they were soliciting customers for sex. The officers were solicited for sex at Moon Light Massage, at 136 Howard St.; Pine Tree Massage, at 151 Lynch Creek Drive; and at a residence on the 100 block of Second Street.

At Moon Light Massage, the officers arrested one person for residing in a house of prostitution and another for solicitation of prostitution, and at Pine Tree Massage, they arrested two people for residing in a house of prostitution and one person for solicitation of prostitution.

One woman was arrested for solicitation of prostitution at the Second Street residence.

Two of the people arrested were from Los Angeles, and the others were from Petaluma, Sunnyvale, American Canyon and Fremont.

After the officers were solicited for sex, they served search warrants at the locations, and found detailed customer lists containing their telephone numbers and method of payment.

Prior to those arrests, the most recent arrests at a massage parlor occurred on Oct. 5, 2005, when a woman at Golden Spa massage parlor at 699 Petaluma Blvd. North was arrested for soliciting an undercover detective for a sexual act and on March 23, 2005, when a woman was arrested at the same place, then known as Lily Rose Spa, for offering to perform a sexual act on an undercover detective.

During the past couple of years, police have been receiving more complaints from businesses and residents about illegal activities at massage parlors. Police were aware of only one business conducting prostitution in 2006, and now there are around a half-dozen of them.

Petaluma police have made no arrests for prostitution since October 16, 2009. Nine people were arrested in 2009 and 14 were nabbed in 2008, including 11, from six different cities, during a sting a local motel on May 1.

The sting was conducted after police noticed a growing trend in prostitution incidents at the north end of Petaluma.

(Contact Dan Johnson at