A former sheriff’s deputy has been charged with stealing credit cards from a dead woman.
Steve Hortz, 42, of San Dimas, California, allegedly stole three cards from a home in the city of Yorba Linda, where he had been sent to perform a welfare check in August 2020.
The woman he had been sent to find was dead on his arrival.
After allegedly taking the credit cards, Hortz, a 12-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, reportedly tried using them to make thousands of dollars of online purchases. This included various auto parts, as well as products from QVC, according to KTLA. Almost all of these purchases were declined.
Hortz was charged on Friday with four felony counts of attempted grand theft, one felony count of identity theft, and one felony count of grand theft embezzlement. He faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months if convicted, ABC 7 reports.
Hortz has a history of recent legal troubles and criminal activity.
Last September, he was arrested over separate charges stemming from a wellness check he helped conduct in July with two other deputies.
After finding that the homeowner was found deceased due to natural causes, Hortz was caught on surveillance footage returning the house multiple times to steal $27,000 worth of guns and other items, including a gun safe and some ceiling fans. One of these return trips happened while he was on duty.
Following his arrest, Hortz resigned from the Sheriff’s Office effective September 30, 2020. In December, he was indicted on three felony counts of second-degree burglary and two felony counts of grand theft of a firearm.
“This individual was called to assist grieving families in a time of need and instead he betrayed their trust,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “This behavior is unworthy of someone who wears the badge and thankfully as a result of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigation, he is no longer in a position where he can use his uniform and badge to victimize the very people he was sworn to protect.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that it is investigating whether or not Hortz committed further thefts during his time serving for the office.
“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,” Sheriff Don Barnes told the press after Hortz’s indictment. “He’s embarrassed this profession, he’s embarrassed this organization, and he’s embarrassed the almost 4,000 members who do good work every day.”
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