A Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy was arrested on Monday after he was accused of using Sheriff's Office resources to stalk his ex-girlfriend — including driving to Boca Raton while on duty in Wellington to post harassing signs and flyers at her job.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered Patrick Joseph Burt, 31, held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bond. He is facing stalking charges.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Burt was arrested after detectives initiated an investigation on Feb. 21 into his alleged actions. His ex-girlfriend, whose name is being withheld because of the nature of the crime, reported that Burt was stalking and harassing her.
She told a Sheriff's Office detective that after breaking up in 2008, Burt asked that they still be friends. But she ended any type of contact with Burt in September 2011. Soon after, she started receiving harassing phone calls and text messages from Burt, according to the affidavit.
The detective found that Burt used his marked patrol car to enter the woman's gated community in suburban Boca Raton in November, the affidavit stated. He also learned that a mechanic found a GPS device attached to the undercarriage of the woman's car on Feb. 19.
Further, the woman reported that on Feb. 14, she found eight signs posted around her job that labeled her current boyfriend a "home wrecker and a cheater." There were also yellow-colored flyers posted on the building and elevator that named the woman's current boyfriend a "cheater who pursued another person's fiancé."
When confronted by the detective, Burt admitted to putting the GPS on his ex-girlfriend's car.
He also admitted to posting the flyers and signs. The detective pointed out in the affidavit that on that day — Feb. 14 — Burt was being paid to patrol Wellington when he drove to Boca Raton in his marked patrol car to post the "libelous and harassing signs and flyers."
An audit of Burt's inquiries through the Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database also showed that he had searched the names of the woman's family members and her current boyfriend; a violation of the system's requirements, which restrict the database to be used for law enforcement purposes only.
Information concerning Burt's length of employment with the Sheriff's Office, and the status of his employment were not made immediately available.
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