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Lap dances continue and so do the arrests

Officers hit four clubs and arrest customers, who keep coming despite a lap-dance ban.

By ANGELA MOORE

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000


TAMPA -- For the third time in less than a week, strippers and customers were arrested for participating in fully nude, grinding lap dances that the city outlawed in December.

And, for the third time, the clubs, dancers and customers returned to business as usual after the officers and the police van left.

Starting at 7 p.m., Tampa police detectives and undercover officers hit four clubs Thursday: Seven Seas, Gold Rush, Pink Pony and the Mons Venus, said Lt. Jane Castor. Eight men and 14 dancers were arrested Thursday.

Mons Venus owner Joe Redner, a former City Council candidate who has an eye on an at-large County Commission seat this fall, was irate but triumphant Thursday night.

"Before, we had 800, 900 people a day coming in here," Redner said. "The fact that we still have 400 people coming in here a day in direct defiance of that law says a lot. It shows that people care enough about their rights to stand up to the city."

Dancers are well aware they could be cited for performing lap dances, Redner said, but they don't care. Each club has attorneys challenging the lap dance ban's constitutionality. Redner believes his side will win.

Tampa residents who are cited for a lap dance violation are not taken to jail, Castor said. Out-of-town customers face a trip to the Hillsborough County jail. Castor said one of the men arrested at Mons Venus Thursday came from Saudi Arabia.

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