Mummers club bigs arrested in hooker roundup

Posted: October 12, 2011

Two executives of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade were among those arrested when the police vice squad raided the Mummers group's South Philadelphia clubhouse in a prostitution sweep Tuesday night.

Altogether police arrested 10 women and one man on prostitution charges and two other men on liquor violation charges.

Arrested on the liquor charges were John Murray, 56, of Deptford, N.J., the club's financial secretary; and Alfred Sanborn, 44, of South Philadelphia, its steward, police said.

Lawrence Crovetti, who was not affiliated with the club, arranged for the women to come to the building and was charged with promoting prostitution, said Deputy Police Commissioner Inspector William Blackburn.

When police raided the clubhouse on the 100 block of Snyder Avenue Tuesday night they found about 50 patrons inside and some of the women naked or barely clothed and even engaged in sex acts, Blackburn said.

The investigation began about two months ago, after police received tips that women were solicited for sex on the second floor of the building every second Tuesday of the month between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., Blackburn said. The cover charge for the event was $30, which included one beer and snacks. There also was a cash bar, where Murray and Sanborn acted as bartenders, said Vice Squad Lt. Charles Green.

An undercover officer gained access to one of the parties last month, said Green, after managing to wrangle an invitation from Crovetti, 65, of Feasterville. The officer saw numerous women walking around either naked or scantily clad, as well as several dozen men.

On Tuesday night around 7:30, two undercover officers got inside the clubhouse and were approached by 10 women who solicited them for sex, Green said.

The club did not have a liquor license, police said.

Murray and Sanborn were aware of the prostitution, Blackburn said, but police did not have enough evidence to charge them with any prostitution-related offenses.

The Downtowners, which was formed in 1959, is among the most successful Mummers Fancy Division brigades.

Police said they did not know how the money collected from entrance fees was being used, or whether it was for Mummers-related expenses.

Also arrested were:

Michelle Lauber, 32, of Philadelphia.

Virginia Ruiz, 46, of Bear, Del.

Sherry Davidson, 40, of Philadelphia.

Regina Mahoney, 26, of Philadelphia.

Chiante Galezniak, 35, of Philadelphia.

Adriana Arena, 51, of Philadelphia.

Judith Jacobs, 36, of Sicklerville, N.J.

Jennifer Quenderfield, 36, ofConshohocken.

Barbara Gogos, 44, of Cheltenham.

Alexis Simon, 24, of Philadelphia.


Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com

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