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Relay for Life donations stolen; Spring Hill bar employee arrested

SPRING HILL — An employee of a popular nightclub is facing a charge of grand theft after a video surveillance camera inside the business caught him stealing $400 that was intended to support a local charity event, authorities said.

A Hernando County Sheriff's Office report said that Rafael Rodriguez, 33, of Brooksville was arrested Monday after authorities were summoned by Mark Sabavishin, the owner of Bar Envy, 11060 Spring Hill Drive.

According to the report, Sabavishin noticed shortly after closing time early Monday that an envelope containing the cash donation for Relay for Life was missing from his office desk. After reviewing the surveillance video, he determined that Rodriguez had picked up an envelope containing his paycheck and placed it near the envelope containing the cash. Rodriguez then picked up both envelopes and left the office, authorities said.

Authorities said that upon questioning, Rodriguez agreed to return the $400, but gave no further statement as to how or why he took the money.

Sabavishin told the Times on Tuesday that he was particularly upset over the incident because it involved money that patrons had donated to support his bar's participation in the annual Spring Hill Relay for Life walk for cancer research. The establishment set a goal of raising $2,600 toward its participation in the event, which will be in April at Nature Coast Technical High School.

"I have a phenomenal group of customers who always help us whenever we support causes like this," Sabavishin said. "And this cause is very important to me personally."

Sabavishin said Rodriguez no longer works at Bar Envy. He was taken to the Hernando County Detention Center; he was released Tuesday after posting $5,000 bail.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Relay for Life donations stolen; Spring Hill bar employee arrested 01/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:01pm]
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