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Former LCSO deputy worked fair, games against orders

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FORT MYERS, Fla. A former Lee County Sheriff’s deputy defied orders not to pick up shifts at the Lee County Fair and at spring training games, his supervisor said.

Cmdr. Randy Crone, who abruptly retired last July, was arrested in December following complaints about discrepancies in his work hours. He faces a second-degree grand theft charge and is accused of defrauding the sheriff’s office of more than $60,000.

“There is no gray area,” said Maj. Kathy Rairden, Crone’s former supervisor. “You’re not working details until you’re off-duty. You’re not going to make money doing another job for what is typically your work day. That was crystal clear. As a matter of fact, Randy and I specifically had conversations about the fair and ballgames.”

Crone turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest following an internal investigation. Crone worked unauthorized details 66 times in 2012, 60 times in 2013, 64 times in 2014 and 57 times in the last two years, the investigation revealed.

That amounted to a total of 246 days of working an extra job at the sheriff’s office, all while he collected his regular salary of up to $52 an hour, according to the investigation.

“Most of those ballgames happen at 1 in the afternoon. That’s in the middle of his workday,” Rairden said. “Great, you wanna work it, fantastic. Take a vacation day.”

But Crone allegedly bilked the sheriff’s office out of 26 vacation days and lied to his superiors over the last four years.

Crone wasn’t initially questioned about his hours because he was in a supervisory position, Rairden said.

Crone was released from jail on a $5,000 bond. His attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.