A former Florida police officer is accused of using police databases while he was on the force to find women whom he could potentially date, authorities say.
Officer Leonel Marines of the Bradenton Police Department allegedly misused his access to law enforcement resources to contact around 150 women, finding their social media accounts, calling them on the telephone, and even visiting the homes of some under the guise of police business.
Marines, who was a 12-year employee with the department, often targeted Hispanic women, and was sometimes successful, Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan said at a press conference last week.
Bevan said her department first learned of Marines’ activities in June 2018. After an encounter in a parking lot, Marines followed a woman home. He then knocked on the door of her parent’s home demanding to speak to their daughter about a “domestic matter.”
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The woman’s parents wouldn’t allow Marines to enter and called police to let them know what happened after Marines refused to give the couple his information and left.
Soon after, Bradenton police started investigating Marines and looked at his use of police databases.
There was a “very, very clear trend of Marines focusing on female versus male names,” Bevan said.
Marines, who had a supervising role at the department, was put on desk duty at the beginning of the investigation. As the department learned more about his actions, he was ultimately placed on unpaid administrative leave, and stripped of his badge, gun, and uniforms.
Marines resigned in October of last year.
“While BPD’s administrative case has concluded, this remains a very active and open criminal investigation which is being handled by the FBI,” Bevan said. “It goes without saying that this is not what our officers should be doing with their access to info or their time.”
“This is truly a disturbing situation for me as chief,” Bevan added. Over the past few weeks, she said she has met with several women whom Marines allegedly targeted in an effort to “regain their trust in the Bradenton Police Department.”
NBC News could not immediately reach Marines for comment.