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    Adult store founder held in scheme to hire beating

    By MIKE BRASSFIELD

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published June 15, 2001


    TARPON SPRINGS -- The founder of several adult book and video stores in Pinellas and Pasco counties was arrested Thursday after police said he paid undercover vice detectives $16,000 to beat up an ex-employee.

    Robert Gluck, 73, of Tarpon Springs was jailed on a charge of solicitation to commit robbery.

    Gluck's family owns the Pussycat, Pussycat II and the Pasco Pussycat. They are in Largo, Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey, respectively.

    "Gluck was upset over a former employee. He suspected this employee had been ripping him off to the tune of about $1,000 a week," said Pinellas County sheriff's spokesman Greg Tita. "Gluck put out the word that he wanted to hire someone to burglarize his house and mess him up real bad."

    Undercover detectives used Halloween makeup to make Gluck's ex-employee look as if he'd been badly beaten. They took photos of the man and showed them to Gluck on Thursday in Tarpon Springs, Tita said.

    "He had originally agreed to pay $15,000," Tita said. "But because he was pleased with the quick work and beating, he gave them a $1,000 bonus."

    Gluck is best known for his battles with local governments and religious leaders over his efforts to open adult video stores and bookstores. He also opened Playmates, an exotic dance club in Hudson.

    In 1997, Gluck pleaded guilty to tax evasion and settled with the IRS for an undisclosed sum.

    Gluck eventually turned all three Pussycat stores over to his children, although sheriff's detectives Thursday described him as the owner of the stores.

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