Sex Offender Steals School Bus, Attempts To Pick Up Children

A sex offender allegedly stole a school bus and attempted to pick up children in Cleveland, Utah, in April 2015. Although no children were harmed, as they refused to get into the bus, Patrick James Fredericksen was charged with attempted kidnapping, felony theft, and driving under the influence. Last week, the defendant pleaded no contest per a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Fredericksen has a long, and somewhat unusual, criminal history which began when he was 18-years-old.

CBS News reports Patrick James Fredericksen “pleaded guilty to third-degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor” in 2004. He was subsequently placed on Utah’s sex offender registry. Although he has not been accused of harming any children in the last 12 years, he has been arrested under some bizarre circumstances.

In 2006, Fredericksen began posing as a Salt Lake County firefighter. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, the convicted sex offender used a stolen badge and uniform to convince someone to lease him an apartment. He also used his phony status to open several different lines of credit. The deceit did not stop there.

According to reports, Patrick James Fredericksen purchased a police scanner and began responding to the scenes of accidents and fires. Although he was not immediately recognized as an imposter, he was eventually arrested and charged with several criminal counts.

Authorities confirmed Fredericksen previously volunteered with the Huntington Fire Department. However, he was terminated in 2003 for stealing a badge, uniform, and equipment — which were apparently used in the 2006 crime.

Patrick James Fredericksen was ultimately convicted of felony theft and a class B misdemeanor for impersonating an officer. In addition to spending one year in jail, he was ordered to attend mental health counseling.

Between 2007 and 2013, Fredericksen was convicted on numerous charges, including forgery and theft. However, he was out on parole and working for a landscaping company by April 2015.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Fredericksen’s coworkers became concerned when he allegedly abruptly quit his job and walked away from the site with a set of master keys.

According to reports, he walked to a funeral home, where he stole a vehicle from the parking lot and fled the scene. The sex offender later stole a school bus, which he used to try to kidnap children.

Authorities confirmed Patrick James Fredericksen found a list of students’ addresses and names inside the bus. According to witness reports, he drove to at least one child’s home, but she refused to board the bus. He also stopped to ask for directions to another child’s home.

Cleveland resident Sarah Brewer became suspicious, as Fredericksen drove through the neighborhood several times and did not have any children on the bus.

Authorities eventually caught up with the sex offender, who was arrested for stealing the school bus. Patrick James Fredericksen was also charged with stealing a car, attempted kidnapping, destroying public property, and driving under the influence.

Last week, the convicted sex offender agreed to a plea bargain. In exchange for pleading no contest to the charges of attempted kidnapping and theft, all other charges were dismissed. Last Wednesday, he was sentenced to “one to 15 years in prison.”

Thankfully, nobody was harmed in the bizarre incident. However, Emery County Sheriff Department Lt. Gayle Jensen admitted “it could have been bad” if Fredericksen convinced any children to get into the bus.

It is unclear why the convicted sex offender stole the school bus, as he did not provide a motive. However, his behavior over the last 14 years, and the court’s recommendation for counseling, suggests he may have mental health issues.

[Image via Dan Kosmayer/Shutterstock]