L.A. County sheriff's deputy facing felony charges, allegedly stole money during traffic stop

Entrance to the parking area of the East Los Angeles Sheriff's station in East Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was arrested Tuesday and jailed on $25,000 bail. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was arrested this week after prosecutors said she stole money during a traffic stop, then filed a false report to cover it up.

Jessica Lynn, 39, was charged with two felonies — concealing evidence and filing a false report — as well as one misdemeanor count of petty theft not exceeding $950, the district attorney's office said in a news release Wednesday. She’s scheduled for arraignment in July.

If convicted on all charges, prosecutors said, she could face more than six years in prison.

“Law enforcement officers are entrusted with upholding the law and safeguarding our communities,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement Wednesday. “When an individual in such a position breaches this trust, it not only undermines the integrity of the entire justice system but also jeopardizes the safety and well-being of those they are sworn to protect.”

In an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department said Lynn had been relieved of duty pending resolution of the case.

“Our personnel are not above the law and must be held accountable when their actions violate the Department’s moral and ethical standards,” the statement said, pointing out that the department completed an initial investigation of the matter before turning it over to prosecutors. “We value the public’s trust and expect our personnel to protect our communities with integrity and professionalism.”

Lynn did not immediately response to requests for comment. It is not clear whether she has an attorney.

The case that led to her arrest stems from an April 15, 2023, incident during which prosecutors say Lynn stopped a driver at a strip mall in Whittier at around 2:45 a.m. after noticing the vehicle had heavily tinted windows. The driver did not have a valid license, and after searching the vehicle, Lynn found a coin purse containing money.

Read more: D.A. drops poker-chip theft case against deputy after witness cites fear of deputy gangs

She’s accused of stealing the cash and tossing out the purse in a trash can, according to the district attorney's news release.

The case against Lynn — who was based at the Pico Rivera Sheriff's Station at the time — is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Justice System Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

News of her arrest comes months after the district attorney’s office decided not to prosecute another deputy also accused of stealing from a driver during a traffic stop. In that case, records show Deputy Braulio Robledo pulled over a professional gambler leaving the Commerce Casino in January 2020. Robledo patted the man down for weapons, put him in the back of his patrol cruiser and searched his vehicle before letting him go with a warning.

Afterward, the man said, he realized that $500 in white Commerce Casino poker chips had gone missing from his backpack, so he called the East L.A. sheriff’s station to report the incident. Initially, Robledo denied ever pulling him over. But a later review of surveillance footage showed it was his patrol SUV that made the stop, according to what prosecutors wrote in a memo describing the case.

Ultimately, though, the memo said the poker player stopped cooperating with investigators, telling them he did not want to pursue the case because he was scared of retaliation from a deputy gang he called “Los Banditos.” Without a cooperating witness, prosecutors said it was impossible to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Robledo had robbed anyone that night.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.