2 Mummers, 11 Others Arrested in Alleged Prostitution Bust

Two board members from the Downtowners fancy brigade busted in an undercover prostitution ring bust, according to police

Two Mummers -- both executive board members of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade -- were arrested Tuesday night, along with 11 other people, in an undercover investigation into an alleged prostitution ring inside the Brigade's South Philly clubhouse.

Neighbors initially tipped police off, saying a prostitution ring was being run out of the Downtowners clubhouse in the 100 block of Snyder Avenue.

"All in the Mummers community are shocked by the alleged behavior of individuals who rented out the Downtowners' Hall," the Mummers organization said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"This was not a Mummers' prostitution ring nor a Downtowners Fancy Brigade prostitution ring."

Police say they started building their case in September. On Tuesday night, police raided the clubhouse. Inside, police say there found about about five dozen men and about 20 scantily-clad women.

"When they were inside the location there was about 50 to 60 males along with 15 to 20 females," said Philadelphia Police Lt. Charles Green. "During the course of the time that they were in there they were solicited by 10 of these females for sex for money and subsequently they were arrested."

"If the allegations are true, the Mummers and the Downtowners organization are as much victims of this as anyone else," the Mummers' statement read.

Alfred Sanborn and John Murray were among the 13 people arrested during the raid. Both are executive board members of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Sanborn, 44, and Murray, 56, knew about the prostitution taking place inside, police say, and the two are also accused of illegally serving drinks to customers. Both were charged with criminal conspiracy and violation of liquor laws.

"If it is determined that any members of the Downtowners were involved, it was most definitely without the knowledge or approval of the club itself, and any such individuals will also be subject to discipline from the club as well," the Mummers said in their statement.

A third man, who is not affiliated with the Mummers, was the alleged ring leader, police say.  Lawrence Crovetti, 65, was charged with criminal conspiracy, promoting prostitution and violation of liquor laws.

Police also arrested 10 women accused of soliciting undercover officers on Tuesday night. Nine of the women are charged with solicitation and prostitution. Michelle Lauber, 32, was charged with prostitution, conspiracy, solicitation and possession of narcotics.

The club remained closed Wednesday night.

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