Police bust brothel operating across from school

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A brothel operating in a residential neighborhood has been shut down. San Mateo police raided the home on West 20th Avenue, right across the street from Serra High School. (KGO-TV)

A brothel operating in a residential neighborhood was shut down Monday night. San Mateo police raided the home on West 20th Avenue, right across the street from Serra High school.

Neighbors say they had a funny feeling about the new tenants of a rental home from the beginning. Turned out, they were right.

San Mateo police arrested Jin Zhen for operating a house of ill-fame, also known as a brothel.

It had only been running for three weeks, but in that short period of time, business was booming.

"Strictly what they're doing here is business, so there's no family photos, there's no clothing belonging to anybody. There's just a couple mattresses on the ground and there's evidence consistent with prostitution: condoms, lubricants, lingerie, things like that," said San Mateo police Officer Nick Morisilli.

Another man, Ruibiao Li, was arrested for narcotics possession.

As for the prostitutes, none were inside at the time of the raid. Police say their photos along with the San Mateo address had been posted in online ads.

Sue Loeffler lives in the neighborhood.

"The girls were wheeling their suitcases by my house to go into their house," Loeffler said,

She was among a handful of neighbors who noticed the unusual activity, as many as 15 men visiting the house on a given day.

Police say it was tips from the community, including Serra High School across the street, that quickly brought the brothel to their attention.

"Obviously, something wasn't right. Cars would come and they would be texting. They'd move down the street and they'd be texting. They'd park around the corner and then foot traffic coming in," Loeffler said.

San Mateo police say their next step is to find the prostitutes who worked at the house, not to arrest them, but to help them.
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