The Portland Bureau of Transportation arrested by police during a car theft investigation has been placed on leave. PBOT has also begun a personnel investigation into the allegations against Barbara Lorraine Peterson, 53.

According to PBOT spokesman Dylan Rivera, the city uses this procedure when employees are arrested for conduct that may be related to their job.

Rivera also said employees who are in police custody are not paid for those hours.

Peterson was arrested after arriving at work Wednesday at PBOT's Abandoned Auto Section. Detectives interviewed Peterson then booked her into the Multnomah County Jail on seven counts of Official Misconduct, four counts of Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle (UUMV) and three counts of UUMV.

The arrest came as detectives are conducting a significant auto theft investigation involving several people and locations, including West Coast Car Crushing. as part of that investigation, they learned that a city employee was providing information on abandoned vehicles to an illicit tow driver, who would then steal the cars by towing them to West Coast Car Crushing, where they would be crushed and sold as scrap metal.

Detectives opened a secondary investigation into these allegations and identified Peterson as the employee. Police say they learned Peterson was accepting cash payments for providing information on vehicles to the tow driver.

Based on the investigation, detectives believe that Peterson was acting alone and without the knowledge of the city or any other city employees.

This arrest will be presented to a Multnomah County Grand Jury to consider charges.

If anyone has information about this investigation, they are asked to contact Detective Jeff Sharp at (503) 823-9773, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or, Detective Angela Hollan at (503) 823-3761, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This remains ongoing investigation involving the following agencies: The Portland Police Bureau's North Precinct and Detective Division, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, the Oregon State Police, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Clark County (WA) Sheriff's Office, and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

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