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Swingers club in Seffner neighborhood shut down by sheriff's detectives

After neighbors complained about activity at 11326 Brightridge Drive in Seffner, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office closed what they say was an unlicensed sexually oriented business.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

After neighbors complained about activity at 11326 Brightridge Drive in Seffner, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office closed what they say was an unlicensed sexually oriented business.

SEFFNER — Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives say they shut down a swingers club in a Seffner rental house Friday and arrested four people.

Complaints from neighbors about the home at 11326 Brightridge Drive kicked off a six-week investigation by sheriff's detectives and agents from the state Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

Neighbors said cars would turn up their dead-end street on weekend evenings and head directly for the very end, pulling into the 150-foot driveway lit with tiki torches behind the white picket fence and gate.

The unassuming two-story white house has red trim and sits well off a street lined with single-story ranch homes.

Inside, detectives found three bedrooms lined wall to wall with beds.

The living room was equipped with a dancing pole, a spanking table and large-screen televisions playing pornographic movies.

Steven Bowers, 56, and his wife, Cynthia Bowers, 55, both of St. Petersburg were the owners and operators of the swingers club, deputies said.

They were leasing the home. Ricky Zabala, 55, and his wife, Pamela Zabala, 54, of Orlando assisted with the club when the Bowers were away, according to investigators.

All four have been charged with operating a sexually oriented business without a license, a county ordinance violation, and operating a bottle club without proper zoning and licensing, a second-degree misdemeanor. Each charge carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. All four were released from jail Saturday.

The business operated Wednesday through Sunday from 6 p.m. until the early morning hours, deputies said. During business hours, detectives witnessed various numbers of people inside the house and saw as many as 50 people inside at one time.

Couples were allowed into the club free, deputies said, and single men and women were charged various fees to enter. Anyone entering was allowed to bring their own bottle of alcohol and could share with others, deputies said.

Stephanie Brandon, 24, heard rumors about the house at the end of the street since she moved to Brightridge Drive months ago. "I heard they set it up on the Internet and that's how people found out about it," she said.

Some nights she could see strobe lights flashing when they opened the door. Steven Bowers came by Brandon's home once and talked grass with her fiance. "He seemed nice," she recalled. The rumors of kinky parties floating around the neighborhood didn't bother her. "The people coming didn't disturb my children because they always came after they had gone to bed," Brandon said.

"I never knew it was a crime," Brandon said. "I just thought that that was what they were into."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Swingers club in Seffner neighborhood shut down by sheriff's detectives 12/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 10, 2011 11:13pm]
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