Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County officials say 'fire inspector' was a fraud

SPRING HILL — Allen Rhyndress offered Hernando County businesses a little peace of mind by agreeing to inspect their fire extinguishers in exchange for cash.

The problem: Rhyndress wasn't certified to do so.

On Tuesday, the 50-year-old Hudson man was arrested and charged with four counts of organized fraud.

A Hernando Sheriff's Office report gives this account:

On Nov. 30, Rhyndress walked into Fantastic Sam's on Linden Drive and offered to visually inspect the fire extinguishers for $20. He looked them over, took the cash and gave the manager a handwritten receipt, The manager called the business' regular inspector and learned that Rhyndress did not work for the company.

Rhyndress did the same thing four days later at the Internet Cafe on Forest Oaks Boulevard, the Lucky Duck II on U.S. 19, and the Gold on Anderson Snow Road, collecting a total of $325 from the businesses. The owner of the Lucky Duck II and the Gold also realized that Rhyndress was a fraud after contacting her regular inspector.

When Rhyndress returned to the Gold on Tuesday, this time as a customer, the owner called the Sheriff's Office.

Rhyndress told a detective he thought he was allowed to provide visual inspections of extinguishers "as long as he didn't alter them in any way," a report says. He said he wasn't aware that he needed to be certified and said he was doing the work to help his sick mother.

Rhyndress admitted doing inspections at only those four businesses, but investigators suspect there may have been others.

Anyone who suspects he or she might be a victim is asked to contact Detective Robert Desmond at (352) 797-3868 or

Hernando County officials say 'fire inspector' was a fraud 12/12/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: Hillsborough commissioners should revisit vote on Confederate monument


    It should be clear to those on both sides of the Hillsborough County Commission's decision to keep a Confederate memorial in place that the commission's so-called compromise doesn't work. The dignified protest outside the memorial on Tuesday reaffirms that the pain from this history isn't going away, and the commission …

  2. Protesters, politicians urge Rubio to vote no on Senate health care plan


    TAMPA -- Even as experts struggle to grasp the cost and impact of the latest proposed replacement bill for Obamacare, Tampa resident Delores Grayson knows this much: "My medication is very important, and if they pass something I can't afford I might as well be dead."

    Florida Rep. Sean Shaw, joined community leaders gathered at the Mi Familia Vota Office on West Waters Avenue on Wednesday to urge Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against the Senate's health care repeal bill. [Times | Anastasia Dawson]
  3. Editorial: Rubio's VA reforms a step forward


    President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that should inject more accountability into the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan effort led by Sen. Marco Rubio offers a combination of carrots and sticks aimed at making it easier to uncover problems and punish wrongdoers. The reforms should help …

    An effort to make the VA more accountable was led by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
  4. Deputies: 34 malnourished cats seized from elderly woman's filthy Citrus County home

    Public Safety

    Citrus County deputies on Monday seized 34 malnourished cats they say were living in filthy conditions in a 75-year-old woman's home in Inverness.

    Citrus County deputies on Monday seized 34 malnourished cats they say were living in filthy conditions in a 75-year-old woman's home in Inverness. [Citrus County Sheriff's Office]

  5. Fishing company execs cut meeting short to fish from their balcony (w/ video)

    Bizarre News

    For virtually every other company, this story would sound ridiculous. But for Salt Strong, a fishing company, it seemed to be another day in the life.

    Luke Simonds poses with his balcony catch, a roughly three-foot snook. [Photo via YouTube]