Orange County

OC Deputy Allegedly Caught on Camera Stealing Ceiling Fans, Safes From Dead Man's Home

The deputy reportedly first visited the home as a service call after the man who lived there died of natural causes. He then returned several times in and out of uniform and took items each time.

Steve Hortz
Courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Department

A Southern California sheriff's deputy has been arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a home after the resident died.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department said late Thursday that Deputy Steve Hortz had responded to a July 20 call at the Yorba Linda home when a man in his 70s died of natural causes.

On Wednesday, an attorney representing the family estate reported items were missing from the home and provided surveillance video showing Hortz entering the home at least three times and leaving with stolen property, the department said in a statement.

Hortz, a 12-year veteran of the department, returned to the home in uniform July 27 and broke in through the rear. He returned twice in August in civilian clothes and at that time was seen removing the items, the statement said.

Stolen items included ceiling fans and weapons safes.

Hortz was arrested Thursday for investigation of burglary and placed on administrative leave. The department is investigating whether similar incidents have been reported during previous service calls involving Hortz

“The suspected criminal actions of this deputy are a violation of public trust, are inexcusable and intolerable,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in the statement.

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs said in a statement that the allegations are shocking and if true could undermine public support for law enforcement.

It was not immediately clear if Hortz had an attorney.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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