Talk of the bay: A Bloomin' laptop theft at OSI offices

By Times Staff
Published April 4, 2007

Outback Steakhouse, kept busy with its pending merger vote, now has a theft on its hands. Someone stole multiple laptop computers from cubicles at the Tampa corporate headquarters of Outback Steakhouse parent OSI Restaurant Partners Inc. between 6 p.m. March 27 and noon March 28. According to police spokeswoman Andrea Davis, fewer than a dozen computers were taken from cubicles on the fifth floor of the building at 2202 Westshore Blvd. There were no signs of forced entry. Police have suspects, but Davis declined to give names or further information. OSI, whose portfolio of restaurants includes Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill as well as Outback, just postponed until May 8 a vote on a management-led deal to take the company private.

Universal won't go down without fight

Universal Health Care Insurance Co., already mired in a court battle to avoid liquidation, filed a civil suit Tuesday in Pinellas County Circuit Court alleging BlueCross BlueShield of Florida prematurely told its agents and brokers that Universal had already been liquidated, causing damage to the St. Petersburg-based Medicare insurer. In a letter to its agents and brokers dated March 26, BCBSF officials wrote that Universal was forced to liquidate its Any, Any, Any plan in Florida. That wasn't the case. Officials at BCBSF, which later sent out a correction, had no comment on the suit. In a separate but related legal arena Tuesday, state regulators said they would respond by Friday to a motion by Universal to stop the liquidation.

Seeing Pier's fish to cost more clams

Once the Pier Aquarium emerges from a $100,000 upgrade, patrons will pay more to see the expanded collection on the second floor of the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront landmark. Beginning April 16, adults will pay $5, students and seniors $4, and kids five or younger can come for free. On Sundays, however, the adult and student admission drops to $2.50. Previously, kids were free and adults 13 and older paid $2.