Ex-Stallion Springs officer, wife sentenced in Police Activities League theft

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A former Stallion Springs police officer and his wife were sentenced Friday to probation after pleading no contest to stealing from the department’s Police Activities League.

James Best Jr., 50, and Jennifer Best, 49, were sentenced to 18 months’ felony probation after they each pleaded no contest to grand theft of property. The plea agreements stipulated they pay restitution of $1,764.92.

James Best Jr. was in charge of the PAL program from 2017 to 2019. During that time, “unusual” transactions were found on the program’s bank statements, investigators said in court filings.

Purchases were made through Amazon, utility companies and subscriptions to clothing companies, according to court documents. Items allegedly purchased with league funds included Attraco hipster underwear for women, a black velvet gothic choker necklace, Echo Dot Smart Speaker with Alexa and Colace 2-in-1 Stool Softener and Stimulant Laxative Tablets.

James Best Jr. resigned from the department in September 2019.

Jennifer Best told investigators “”we didn’t know what we were doing” when it came to record-keeping, according to the filings. She said she has cataracts and has difficulty seeing.

“If there is anything that’s not supposed to be or looks weird, I can assure you there is no foul play or it’s not intentional,” she told investigators.

Three counts of misappropriation of public funds and two other counts of grand theft of property were dismissed under the plea agreements, which the couple accepted last month.

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