A Bakersfield police officer is accused of withholding previously stolen property from a female theft victim and asking the woman for sex in exchange for returning her property.
Patrick Lefler, who has been with the Bakersfield Police Department since 2009, allegedly sent the woman text messages suggesting he would return her property, but only if she met him for sex.
Thursday night, officers executed a search warrant at Lefler’s home in southwest Bakersfield.
They would not comment on what they were searching for or what they removed, though officers were spotted taking several brown bags worth of property from Lefler’s home.
Lefler was not home during the search, according to police.
The accused officer was arrested and booked into jail on Wednesday on three charges, including possession of stolen property, annoying phone calls/texts, and falsifying a police report. According to a BPD internal investigation, Lefler told the department he had, in fact, returned the woman’s property. The investigation concluded that was not the case.
Lefler is currently out on bail. Information on when he would be in court was not immediately available.
A BPD spokesperson says the department is as disappointed as anyone about Officer Lefler’s alleged actions.
"We have hundreds of law enforcement officers that work every single day to gain the trust of the people in the community,” said Capt. Hajir Nuriddin. “And, when someone violates that trust by doing the things Officer Lefler did, we take that very seriously. And, that's why as soon as we found out this information, we conducted an immediate investigation.”
According to Lefler’s neighbors, the officer is married and had been discussing starting a family.
“He told me he’s married, had a wife, and that they’d been trying,” said neighbor Jason Backstrom. “Then we got on the subject about kids and how much fun it is to have kids.”
Neighbors also say they feel for Lefler’s wife.
“I haven’t known too many people who have gone through a situation like that,” said Eric Newton. “Again, that’s assuming all this is true. Obviously, I feel very bad for her. I honestly wouldn’t know what to say [to her]. That’s kind of a tough spot.”
Lefler is currently on paid administrative leave while the BPD finalizes its investigation.