RIVERSIDE, Oh. – According to police, the operation was just a random check of out-of-state license plates of cars that were parked at a strip club in a "high-crime" section of town – but when they ran the New York plate of Toyota Camry, they found that its owner, Craig S. Rhodenizer, was wanted for questioning by both the New York state police and the FBI. The cops were instructed to approach Rhodenizer to confirm his identity, since he'd been listed as a "missing person" some 36 hours earlier.
But upon being questioned by the Riverside police, Rhodenizer started crying and claimed that he couldn't remember anything that happened from the time the previous afternoon when he'd told his wife he was taking his computer over to the Best Buy in Amherst to get it fixed. The family had planned to leave for Florida on vacation the following morning.
Oh; did we mention that Rhodenizer is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Lyndonville, N.Y.?
In contrast to Rhodenizer's "memory lapse," the dancers at the unnamed strip club where the cops found him remember the priest pretty well. They told investigating officers that the Rev. spent a couple of hours drinking, getting lapdances and making threatening comments to those around him. They also said he offered to take some of the dancers back to his motel room, where they conceivably would party with the bottle of Bacardi rum that the cops found in his car.
But for someone who claims that he couldn't remember the previous day-and-a-half, it may be significant that when the police asked him if he were indeed the missing preacher, Rhodenizer began crying immediately and asked if his wife and son were all right.
In any case, the cops took Rhodenizer to Grand View Medical Hospital in Dayton for tests. Apparently, all that now remains is for Rhodenizer to offer a tearful apology to his congregation, as have Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard similarly done before him.