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Resort manager accused of stealing more than $135,000

Employees at Port Paradise Resort say she has not been at work in recent weeks. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

Authorities have charged the manager of Port Paradise Resort in Crystal River with stealing more than $135,000 from the hotel on Kings Bay since 1997.

Linda Conger, 49, was arrested Friday and charged with eight counts of grand theft, according to an arrest affidavit. Authorities would not say how they think Conger stole the money or why the crimes have only recently been reported.

"We're really early in this," said Ray Velboom, head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Brooksville office, which conducted the investigation after an employee at Port Paradise contacted the agency.

"It appeared Ms. Conger had been involved in some thefts of some funds. The investigation is still ongoing, and we could file additional charges. We just wanted to go ahead and make the arrest," he said.

Velboom would not say whether his agency has identified any other suspects.

Employees at Port Paradise said Friday evening they were surprised to learn of Conger's arrest. Conger has not been at work in recent weeks. Jim Dicks, the owner of Port Paradise and a member of the Citrus County Tourist Development Council, could not be reached Friday.

Conger had worked at Port Paradise for at least a decade.

Citrus County sheriff's Detective Lisa Wall and an FDLE agent arrested Conger at her Crystal River home about 5 p.m. Friday.

Wall wrote in an arrest report that the investigation had been led by FDLE Special Agent Nick Rice.

Why FDLE led the investigation, instead of the Sheriff's Office or Crystal River police, was unclear.

"It's not unusual in a small town for us to get involved in a case like this," Velboom said. "We will not open a case under $100,000."

Conger, who was arrested on a warrant sought by the state attorney's office in Ocala, was released from the Citrus County jail Friday night on $16,000 bond. A man who answered the telephone at her home said Conger had no comment.

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