Officer’s Car Tagged ‘Stolen’ in Alleged Prank by Deputy

Times Staff Writer

A Lynwood sheriff’s deputy has been indicted for allegedly putting the license plate of her boss’s car into a state computerized list of stolen vehicles and warning that he was “armed and dangerous.”

Deputy Kathy Kay, 33, a six-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, surrendered Monday on two felony counts--malicious access into a computer system and falsification of government records.

Kay was indicted by the county grand jury May 6 for the incident, which allegedly occurred March 23 in Lynwood. She will be arraigned June 3 in Municipal Court.

“The car, which serves as the lieutenant’s family vehicle, was entered into the (state Justice Department) computer as stolen with the accompanying admonition that its driver was armed and dangerous,” Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Hogan said.


“Such a computer entry would mislead any police officer into falsely thinking the vehicle driver or passengers were dangerous felons, thus creating a potentially perilous and tragic situation.”

The Sheriff’s Department refused to identify the lieutenant, and Kay’s attorney, Richard Shinee of Encino, was away from his office and could not be reached for comment, his secretary told The Times.

“The crime was apparently prompted by a supervisor-subordinate conflict,” Hogan said. He would not elaborate.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve Sowders said this is not the first time this particular lieutenant had been the object of pranks by his subordinates.


“I know it’s based on underlying personal grievances against this lieutenant,” he said. “I understand there have been pranks pulled against this lieutenant in the past by unknown deputies.”

Sowders said the investigation continues into whether other deputies may have been involved in the latest prank.

Ranking officials within the Sheriff’s Department said they did not know whether the lieutenant was ever detained or questioned by other police agencies because of the information.

The entry into the computers was discovered after it drew the interest of state Justice Department officials, who asked for additional information and discovered that the information was false.

Kay is on medical leave from her job. Hogan said a sheriff’s internal investigation into the incident will begin soon.