California sheriff’s deputy steals from home of dead man in video – Daily Mail

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Deputy Steve Hortz (pictured in mug) was arrested Thursday and booked into Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary

Deputy Steve Hortz (pictured in mug) was arrested Thursday and booked into Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary

A sheriff’s deputy has been caught on security video allegedly stealing two safes, a rifle case and ceiling fans from a California home, days after he responded to the death of the elderly owner.

Steve Hortz, a 12-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is accused of breaking into the home in Yorba Linda three times in late-July and mid-August and making off with the dead man’s property.  

Hortz was arrested Thursday and booked into Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary.

He is currently on paid administrative leave, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Hortz responded to a 911 call at the home on July 20 about the death from natural causes of a man in his 70s, authorities said.

The deputy then allegedly returned at least three times to the property in late July and mid-August, stealing two safes, ceiling fans, a rifle case and other items ‘yet to be determined.’

Shocking home video footage captured Hortz’s numerous unauthorized visits to the home. 

He first returned on July 27, one week after he responded to the man’s death, sheriff’s officials said.

Footage of this incident shows Hortz dressed in his sheriff’s uniform approaching the back door to the home and looking around.   

The Sheriff’s Department said he then ‘broke into the unoccupied residence through the rear and left a short time later’.

It is not clear if Hortz stole items from the home during this visit.

The sheriff's deputy was caught on security video allegedly stealing two safes, a rifle case and ceiling fans from a California home, days after he responded to the death of the elderly owner. Pictured Steve Hortz on his first visit allegedly breaking in to the home in his uniform

The sheriff’s deputy was caught on security video allegedly stealing two safes, a rifle case and ceiling fans from a California home, days after he responded to the death of the elderly owner. Pictured Steve Hortz on his first visit allegedly breaking in to the home in his uniform

Hortz is accused of breaking into the home in Yorba Linda three times in late-July and mid-August and making off with the dead man's property. Pictured Hortz first returning on July 27, one week after he responded to the man's death

Hortz is accused of breaking into the home in Yorba Linda three times in late-July and mid-August and making off with the dead man’s property. Pictured Hortz first returning on July 27, one week after he responded to the man’s death

The suspect was next seen breaking in to the property in the early hours of August 10 under the cover of darkness. 

On this occasion, he is seen dressed in civilian clothes of a white hooded sweater and hat while carrying what looks like a long stick or bat. 

The culprit is seen on camera later leaving the property carrying several items. 

He is then seen wheeling off what appears to be a rifle case on a small kart. 

Officials said Hortz next visited the home in the early hours of August 16 when he also made off with several stolen items. 

Footage from this occasion shows a man exiting the home wearing a t-shirt, hat and black purse with his arms laden down with several items. 

The net closed in on Hortz when an attorney for the dead man’s family contacted authorities to report items missing from the home last week.  

The attorney handed over the home videos which showed the man breaking in Wednesday. 

The suspect was next seen breaking in to the property in the early hours of August 10 under the cover of darkness. On this occasion, he is seen dressed in civilian clothes of a white hooded sweater and hat while carrying what looks like a long stick or bat

The suspect was next seen breaking in to the property in the early hours of August 10 under the cover of darkness. On this occasion, he is seen dressed in civilian clothes of a white hooded sweater and hat while carrying what looks like a long stick or bat

The culprit is seen on camera later leaving the property carrying several items

The culprit is seen on camera later leaving the property carrying several items

He is then seen wheeling off what appears to be a rifle case on a small kart

He is then seen wheeling off what appears to be a rifle case on a small kart

Hortz was arrested over the incident Thursday and placed on paid administrative leave. 

Carrie Braun, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, told KTLA5 the department was ‘looking into the possibility’ of putting him on unpaid leave.   

Officers are also investigating whether Hortz could have carried out similar incidents during his 12-year tenure with the department. 

The elderly man has not been named by authorities but neighbors identified him as local realtor Ken Gyger, reported KTLA5.  

OC Sheriff Don Barnes vowed to make sure Hortz is stripped of his uniform, saying he has ’embarrassed this profession’. 

‘I will do everything we can to make sure he does not return to a uniform in this organization or anywhere else for that matter,’ he said at a press conference Thursday.   

‘He’s embarrassed this profession, he’s embarrassed this organization, and he’s embarrassed the almost 4,000 members who do good work everyday.’  

He said ‘based on the evidence we have against him’ he expected Hortz to be charged and convicted – adding that if he is ‘he does not deserve to work in this profession anymore.’

Barnes added in a statement that actions such as this do not belong in his department.   

Officials said Hortz next visited the home in the early hours of August 16 (pictured) when he also made off with several stolen items

Officials said Hortz next visited the home in the early hours of August 16 (pictured) when he also made off with several stolen items

Footage from this occasion shows a man exiting the home wearing a t-shirt, hat and black purse with his arms laden down with several items

Footage from this occasion shows a man exiting the home wearing a t-shirt, hat and black purse with his arms laden down with several items

‘I will hold accountable deputies who do not honor the oath they swore to uphold,’ he said.

‘It is imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that the men and women who have the privilege to wear the badge humbly recognize the responsibility entrusted to them as a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.’     

DailyMail.com reached out to the Sheriff’s Department for further comment on the case. 

The shocking allegations against the deputy come as a second OC sheriff’s deputy was also charged with stealing this week.  

On Wednesday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced a felony charge against Angelina Cortez after she allegedly took a bank card from a theft suspect in November 2018 and gave it to her son to use. 

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