Authorities said Thursday that a Southern California sheriff accused of stealing items from an uninhabited home responded to reports of a death facing theft charges.
Orange officials said in a statement that 12-year veteran Steve Hortz of the Orange County Sheriff Department was arrested on Thursday and placed on administrative leave.
Authorities said Hortz went home on July 70 after reports about a man in his 70s who had died. He said he returned home three times in late July and mid-August, once in uniform and twice to retrieve items.
Authorities said security video from the home in Yorba Linda City, which has been contracted to serve the sheriff since 2013, captured the crimes.
Sheriff Don Barnes said at a news conference on Thursday, “Deputy Hotreys returned to the residence in the early morning hours, arriving at the residence’s entrance through an open door, and saw them recording on objects to be removed from the recording Gone.”
Hortz is accused of two vault, ceiling fans, a rifle case and other items “not yet determined”.
Sheriff’s officials said an attorney for the dead man’s property contacted the department to report the deputy’s missing and home security video.
The Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Association of the Deputants’ Union did not immediately respond to a response Thursday night.
“This deputy’s suspected criminal action is a breach of public trust, unforgivable and unbearable,” Barnes said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the District Attorney’s Office in Orange County announced an unrelated case against 41-year-old Deputy Angelina Cortez, who is accused of taking credit cards from a suspect and giving her son to use. He was charged with filing a false police report.
The Deputy Sheriffs Association of Orange County did not immediately respond to a request for comment in Cortez’s case.