BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA - A Bakersfield Police Department officer was arrested after the department received reports that he wanted a woman to exchange sexual favors for her property to be returned.
On June 10, a woman contacted the Kern County Sheriff’s Office to report she was the victim of a grand theft where several personal items were stolen from her unlocked vehicle.
On July 7, a deputy with the KCSO made a traffic stop on a reported city stolen vehicle.
During the investigation, the woman’s property was found in the stolen vehicle.
Officer Patrick Lefler was sent to assist the deputy, and during the investigation Lefler seized the woman’s property, according to Detective Uriel Pacheco.
On Tuesday, the Bakersfield Police Department started a criminal investigation after receiving information that a Bakersfield Police officer was refusing to return the woman’s stolen property, Pacheco said.
A further investigation revealed that Lefler sent the woman several text messages with sexual connotation, Pacheco said.
Pacheco said Lefler also sent the woman text messages letting her know that he was holding her property because he wanted to meet her in person and engage in sexual intercourse with her.
Pacheco said that the investigation revealed that Lefler falsified his report by indicating that he returned the property to the woman.
However, he never returned the property to the woman and did not book the property until Tuesday, with the exception of her driver’s license, Pacheco said.
A search warrant was obtained for Lefler’s home and patrol vehicle, but the victim’s driver’s license was not located, Pacheco said.
On Wednesday, Lefler was arrested at the Bakersfield Police Department and booked into the Kern County Jail on charges of possession of stolen property, annoying telephone calls and making a false report.
Lefler, who has been an officer for the department since August of 2009, is currently on paid administrative leave.
“Anytime our department has an investigation on one of our officers it’s very disheartening. It dishonors this profession, it violates the trust of this community and this profession as well. Anytime somebody does violate that trust we’re going to act swiftly and assure our biggest concern is the safety of our community. We have hundreds of officers here everyday who put their lives on the line who have not violated that trust who understands the importance of engaging the community and what it means to be a law enforcement officer,” said BPD Captain Hajir Nurridin.