Couple's cruise plans end in man's arrest
A couple in their 50s thought they were going on a fabulous cruise, but they ended up being swindled out of nearly $2,300 and their passports, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The couple told authorities they made their travel plans through Mario A. Lopez, a 45-year-old man who runs MTV Tours out of his Hudson home. According to a sheriff's report, Lopez demanded payment in cash for the Costa Cruises bookings and gave the couple a confirmation number with the cruise line. Lopez also took their passports and said he was going to renew them, the report says. When the couple called Costa Cruises in February to confirm their reservations, the company said it didn't have them booked for the cruise. They have been trying to get their money and passports back from Lopez without luck, the report says. Lopez was arrested Monday on a charge of scheming to defraud. He told a deputy that he was trying to refund the money to the couple and that he was borrowing money from his parents to do so. He was released Tuesday on $5,000 bail. Lopez's criminal record includes prior charges of fraud, larceny, grand theft, escape, forgery and exploitation of the elderly. Most of those arrests were in the Miami area.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Don't throw stuff during boat parade
City officials are reminding the public not to throw water balloons or anything else at — or from — the boats in Saturday's Chasco boat parade. That rule has been in effect for years, but City Council member Marilynn deChant said this week that she wants to make sure everybody knows about it. Last weekend's street parade, which saw police cracking down on people who threw beads from the floats, was marked by criticism from participants who said they weren't aware that the ban would be enforced this year.
Get your hair cut for a good cause
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the folks at Aquaterra Salon are trying to do their part by hosting a fundraising cut-a-thon from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the salon in Trinity Commons, 7813 Mitchell Blvd., Suite 110. All proceeds will benefit Pasco Kids First Inc., an organization that assists local children who have suffered from abuse. Haircuts will be priced at a discount: $20 for women (regularly $35); $12 for men (regularly $20); and $10 for those 17 and younger (regularly $15). No appointment is necessary. For more information, call (727) 372-8676.
Detailed obituaries are published in Section B.