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CASTLE DALE — A sex offender who has a prior conviction for impersonating a police officer stole a school bus and used it to try to pick up at least one child, according to the Emery County Sheriff's Office.
On Monday, a supervisor with a landscaping company hired to install sod at the baseball complex in Huntington called the sheriff's office to report that one of his employees was "acting strange," sheriff's spokeswoman Janalee Luke said.
The supervisor told deputies the man had walked away from the job site with a set of master keys to one of the buildings at the complex, Luke said. Deputies searched the surrounding area, but did not find the man.
A short time later, an employee of a nearby funeral home reported his car stolen. The funeral home worker told deputies he had noticed "a suspicious person" around the business earlier in the day, but was helping a family with funeral arrangements "so he wasn't too concerned," Luke said.
While deputies were still looking for the landscaper who walked away from work and the stolen car, dispatchers received a report of a suspicious person driving a school bus in the Cleveland area of Emery County.
A sheriff's lieutenant found the slow-moving bus and pulled in front of it before it could gain any speed, Luke said. Deputies arrested the driver, whom they later identified as Patrick James Fredricksen.
Investigators were able to determine that Fredricksen, who was paroled from the Utah State Prison in August 2013, was working for the landscaping company at the ballpark. After walking away from his job, he stole the car at the funeral home and then stole the school bus, Luke said.
Once inside the bus, Fredricksen found a list of names and directions and tried to pick one child up at her home, Luke said. He was also asking directions to a second child's home, investigators said.
Court records show that Fredricksen, 30, has used the names Pat Shelton and Patrick Fredrickson in the past. He has prior convictions for unlawful sexual activity with a minor, impersonating a police officer, forgery, theft, possession of an altered prescription, and criminal mischief, according to court records.
Fredricksen was also charged in 2005 with sexual exploitation of a minor and dealing in material harmful to a minor, but the case was dismissed as part of an apparent plea bargain that resolved another case against him, court records show.
Fredricksen was booked Monday into the Emery County Jail for investigation of theft of a vehicle and attempted child kidnapping. He is also expected to face a charge of damaging a jail because he broke a water line inside his cell and flooded the jail's booking area, Luke said.
Contributing: Nicole Vowell