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Deputy burglar home after responding to death there



Southern California sheriff’s deputy accused of stealing items from an unoccupied house after responding to a death report is at risk of burglary, officials said Thursday.

Steve Hortz, a 12-year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, was arrested Thursday and is on administrative leave, sheriff officials said in a statement.

Hortz went home on July 20 after a report about a man in his seventies who had died of natural causes. They said he returned home three times in late July and mid-August, once in uniform to unlock a door and twice more to remove items.

Security camera footage shows Orange County Sheriff̵
7;s Deputy Steve Hortz outside a home in Yorba Linda, California on July 20, 2020.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Security videos from the house in the city of Yorba Linda, who has been in charge of the sheriff’s service since 2013, have captured the crimes, the authorities said.

“Deputy Hotrz returned to this residence early in the morning, was allowed to enter the residence through the unlocked door and was seen on records of items being removed from the residence,” Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference Thursday.

Hortz is accused of having taken two safes, ceiling fans, a rifle case and other “items to be determined”.

The sheriff’s officials said an attorney for the deceased’s estate had contacted the department to report missing items and a video for the deputy’s safety.

The MPs union, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, did not immediately respond to a request for a response Thursday evening.

“The alleged criminal activity of this MP is a violation of public trust, is inexcusable and intolerable,” Barnes said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Orange County prosecutors announced an independent case against 41-year-old MP Angelina Cortez, who is accused of stealing a credit card from a suspect and giving it to her son to use. She was accused of filing a false police report.

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cortez’s case.




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