Two former Orange County police officers have been accused of kidnapping and illegally working as bounty hunters.
Rodger Jeffrey Corbett, 49, of Corona, and Kevin Andrew Pedersen, 34, of Fullerton, are scheduled to be arraigned June 29 on three felony counts each of kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud or deceit and enhancement with firearm in the commission of a felony, a news release from the California Department of Insurance states.
Earlier this month, an Orange County Grand Jury indicted the pair for their conduct working illegally as bail fugitive recovery persons, more commonly known as bounty hunters.
The Department of Insurance launched an investigation after seeing a social media video of Corbett — a former sergeant in the Fullerton Police Department — and Pederson — previously an officer with the Anaheim Police Department — attempting to find a man who had missed court appearances.
The video misidentified them as undercover police officers, the department said. But they were former officers and had not completed the requirements to be bounty hunters, hence operating in that capacity unlawfully, the department said.
Corbett and Pedersen allegedly forcibly kidnapped and handcuffed the girlfriend of the man they were seeking and drove her around for several hours, the news release states. They were both “visibly armed” at the time of the alleged kidnapping, the department said.
The defense attorney representing Corbett, Marlin Stapleton Jr., denounced the allegations, saying the men are “completely innocent,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Our clients were trying to capture a violent fugitive and now they’re being charged with a kidnapping. It’s almost incomprehensible,” Stapleton told the Times.
Both Corbett and Pedersen left their police department jobs under controversial circumstances.
Corbett was accused of filing a false police report in 2016 while investigating a crash involving the then-city manager of Fullerton, who had been drinking.
Pedersen was fired from the Anaheim Police Department after a 2018 incident in which he and another officer fired their weapons 76 times at a suspect during a pursuit. The man, who was armed with an airsoft gun and under the influence of drugs, was killed after being struck by at least nine police bullets.
The Department of Insurance is currently sponsoring a bill to require bounty hunters be licensed and to require better oversight.