ORANGE, Calif.—Two Orange County men are accused of kidnapping a woman while working illegally as bounty hunters.
Rodger Jeffrey Corbett, 49, of Corona, and Kevin Andrew Pedersen, 34, of Fullerton, are facing criminal charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud or deceit, and enhancement with firearm, according to a June 20 statement by the California Department of Insurance.
The state agency and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit launched an investigation after a video was posted on social media showing Corbett and Pedersen attempting to locate a subject who had missed court appearances.
The person who posted the video misidentified the two men as undercover police officers.
Investigators later found out Corbett and Pedersen had not completed the requirements to be “bail fugitive recovery persons”—commonly known as bounty hunters. They allegedly kidnapped and handcuffed the girlfriend of the subject whom they were seeking and drove her around for several hours while being visibly armed, the state agency stated.
The authorities are still investigating the incident, where the “unpermitted” bail fugitive recovery persons were hired by a licensed bail agent, according to the statement.
The alleged kidnapping dates back to October 2020, according to various media reports.
Though bounty hunters in California do not need to be licensed by the state insurance department, they need to complete training courses, have no criminal records, and be hired by licensed bail agents in order to arrest bail fugitives legally. The state is now considering Assembly Bill 2043, which was introduced in February, to require bounty hunters to be licensed.
Marlin Stapleton, the attorney representing Corbett, said the girlfriend was trying to help the fugitive to evade capture after he was being accused of assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.
Stapleton said she is confident that Corbett will be exonerated because they are “good guys.”
Both Corbett and Pedersen had previously served as police officers in Orange County.
Corbett was given a pre-trial diversion sentence in February 2021 after being charged for filing a false police record to cover up the then-Fullerton city manager’s DUI crash in 2016. The diversion program requires Corbett to complete 80 hours of community service, pay $500 in restitution, and agree to no longer work in law enforcement—in exchange for eliminating not only prison time but also the case from his record.
His employment with the Fullerton Police Department already ended in March 2018, according to Orange County Register.
Pedersen was fired in 2018 by the Anaheim Police Department after he and another officer fired more than 76 gunshots and killed a man in a car chase in Anaheim.Their arraignment is scheduled for June 29.