1. Archive



A former president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors was sentenced Tuesday to five years of sex offender probation after pleading guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor.

Gary Lee Budek, 50, was the outgoing president of the association when he was arrested in December. Authorities say Budek admitted to touching a teen girl's breasts on three occasions between May and October when she visited the Spring Hill real estate office where he worked. Budek was also accused of licking sugar from the girl's face and trying to kiss her. During a recorded interview in December, Budek admitted to the allegations. Among the terms of the probation, Budek must abide by a nighttime curfew and complete a sex offender treatment program. Assistant State Attorney Erin Daly said her office agreed to the plea deal with the consent of the victim, who turns 15 this month, and her family.

* * *

Bogus deputy off the hook

A Spring Hill man won't be prosecuted for pretending to be a sheriff's deputy to impress his girlfriend.

As part of an agreement reached Tuesday, prosecutors dropped a charge of unlawful use of a law enforcement insignia against Christopher A. Sharp. Authorities say the 37-year-old U.S. Army veteran admitted to stealing a Pasco Sheriff's Office shirt from his sister's boyfriend, a deputy with the agency, and changing into the shirt on the way home from his job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver. He kept up the charade from August of last year to January, authorities said.

Kristie Ruppe, Sharp's attorney, said he deceived his girlfriend but not the public because there was no evidence that he wore the shirt in public except for one time, briefly, at a party.

* * *

Officials: Stickup faked

The manager of a Spring Hill Subway sandwich shop was arrested Monday on a charge of grand theft after authorities concluded her story of being robbed wasn't true.

When deputies arrived at the Subway at 5394 Spring Hill Drive in Spring Hill on Monday morning, the manager, Susan Hart, 39, told them that a man got into her car as she was on her way to make a bank deposit, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. Hart said the man threatened to harm her and left the car with the store's money.

After more questioning, investigators determined that Hart's story was a hoax, the Sheriff's Office said.

After recanting her tale, she led detectives to her residence where she had hidden the bank deposit bag. She was held at the Hernando County Detention Center in lieu of $1,000 bail.