A Southern California sheriff has been charged with stealing items from an empty house a few days after responding to a death report that he faces burglary charges, officials said Thursday.
Steve Hortz, a 12-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, was arrested Thursday and released on bail, sheriff officials said.
Hortz went home on July 20 after a report of a man in his 70s who died of natural causes, officials said. He was said to have returned home three times in late July and mid-August, once in uniform to unlock a door and twice as many to remove items.
Security video from home in the town of Yorba Linda, who has been a sheriff contract since 2013, arrested the crimes, authorities said.
“Deputy Hotrz returned to the house early in the morning, entered the house through the unlocked door, and appeared on recordings removing items from the house,” Sheriff Don Barnes told a news conference Thursday.
Hortz is accused of taking two safes, ceiling fans, a rifle case and other items “not yet determined.”
Sheriff’s officials said a lawyer for the deceased’s property contacted the department to report missing items and security videos at the deputy’s home.
The MPs’ union, the Orange County Sheriff’s Union, did not immediately respond to a request for a response Thursday night.
“The suspicious acts of this deputy are a breach of public confidence, they are unacceptable and unacceptable,” Barnes said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced an unrelated case against 41-year-old Deputy Angelina Cortez, who is accused of taking a credit card from a suspect and giving it to her son for use. He was charged with making a false police report.
Orange County Sheriff’s Association deputy sheriffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cortez’s case.