Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pastor Tells His Wife He's Going to Best Buy, Found Days Later at a Strip Joint

He was under a lot of stress, his wife says.

I bet.
Nearly two days after Susan Rhodenizer last heard from her missing husband, she beamed with relief that he’d been found safe by police — even though he was in an Ohio strip club.

“Thank God, thank God,” she told The Buffalo News on Friday afternoon.

The Rev. Craig S. Rhodenizer, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lyndonville in Orleans County, was found by police early Friday in the K.C. Lounge, outside Dayton, Ohio.

Rhodenizer, 46, of Lewiston, was not arrested or charged, and was expected to be released to family friends following a mental health evaluation.

His wife said she believes her husband was suffering a “mental health crisis” due to ongoing job stress.

Rev. Rhodenizer just finished handling the Easter season, a busy time of the Christian calendar, and had been “consistently dealing with other people in crisis” for almost a year, said his wife, who spoke to him by phone after he was found.

“I am just thrilled to [have been] able to talk to him and tell him I love him,” she said. “And we’re going to work on whatever it is [that’s wrong].”

Susan Rhodenizer reported her husband missing early Thursday. Just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, the pastor told his wife he was taking the family’s computer to an Amherst Best Buy store for repairs.

He ended up in a strip club in Riverside, Ohio, instead. He told a dancer at the club he had not been in a strip club for more than 20 years “and it was about time he was in one again,” according to a Riverside police incident report.

A dancer inside the club told police Rhodenizer had been inside for about two hours and had three or four beers, according to the report. The dancer also told an officer Rhodenizer had been “acting incredibly strange,” used profanity and offered to pay her to go back to his hotel room.

Rhodenizer also had paid for three or four private dances, afterward arguing about the price, the dancer told police.
He had to go all the way to Ohio for that?

Looks like Rhodenizer may have a bit of a drinking problem.
At 12:40 a.m. Friday, Riverside Officer Rhett Close located a passenger car with an out-of-state license plate, and ran the plate through a police database. The information Close received told him that the car belonged to a missing person.

Close said when he found the reverend, he initially appeared “collected and surprised to be speaking to police.”

After further questioning, Rhodenizer “then began to act disoriented,” the officer reported, and when asked by on-scene medics whether he felt any pain, he told them “he only felt . . . guilty.”

Officers said they found a bottle of Bacardi rum in the back seat and an empty, one-gallon bottle of gin in the trunk of Rhodenizer’s 2002 Toyota Camry, which was parked outside the club.

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