Saturday, February 17, 2018
Public safety

Three charged after man who had arranged for sex in Hernando is beaten, robbed

BROOKSVILLE — Rebecca Maria Rodriguez had the plan down to the code phrase, authorities say.

Rodriguez, 26, met a man at a Hess station in Brooksville on July 8, the two exchanged several text messages, and arranged to meet for sex at a house on Powell Road, south of Brooksville, where Rodriguez was staying, according to the Hernando Sheriff's Office.

The man, who was not identified, showed up and they headed to a bedroom. By that point, investigators say, Rodriguez had hatched a plan to rob the man. She told her cousins — Joshua Ray Rodriguez, 23; Jeremiah Rodriguez, 19; and 16-year-old Brigdare "BJ" Lopez — to hide in the house, then wait outside the bedroom door and listen for her to say, "Oh, that feels so good."

A Sheriff's Office media release gives this account of what happened next:

Hearing their cue, the cousins barged in and began to punch and kick the man. Rebecca Rodriguez's grandfather, who lives in the house, heard the scuffle and asked what was going on, said sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Moloney.

To avoid a run-in with the grandfather, Moloney said, the group tied the man's hands behind his back, threw him out the window and hid him in a shed. They took money from his wallet and hit him in the back with a baseball bat.

The suspects blindfolded the man, forced him into his 1996 Honda Accord, and drove to Goldsmith Road, south of Brooksville, where they left him and drove off in his car.

Investigators identified the suspects after the man provided directions to the house where he met Rodriguez. Rebecca Rodriguez, Joshua Rodriguez and Lopez were arrested Friday. They admitted to their involvement, but detectives determined the Rebecca Rodriguez had planned the crime, the Sheriff's Office said.

All three were charged with robbery, grand theft auto and kidnapping.

Lopez and Joshua Rodriguez were also charged with battery.

Rebecca Rodriguez and Joshua Rodriguez remained in the Hernando County Detention Center on Tuesday in lieu of bail of $42,000 and $42,500, respectively. Lopez was turned over to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Deputies were still searching for Jeremiah Rodriguez.

Rebecca Rodriguez has a lengthy arrest record and prior convictions for battery, grand theft, larceny and fraud, state records show.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

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