SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — An Orange County Sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on suspicion of burglary, the department said Thursday.
Deputy Steve Hortz, a 12-year veteran of the department, responded July 20 at a Yorba Linda home after a man in his 70s died of apparent natural causes, according to OCSD.
On Sept. 9, an attorney representing the family estate called the department to report items missing from the home. The attorney provided surveillance video that captured Hortz making unauthorized entrance to the residence on at least three occasions and exiting with allegedly stolen property.
In the first incident, Hortz returned to the home July 27 and allegedly broke into the unoccupied residence through the rear and left a short time later. It was unclear if Hortz, who was in uniform at the time, left with any property from the home.
Hortz then returned to the home on the mornings of Aug. 10 and 16 in civilian clothes and allegedly removed items including weapon safes, ceiling fans and cases containing unknown items.
OCSD immediately launched an investigation into the burglaries as soon as they were reported. Hortz was arrested the morning of Sept. 10 and was booked into the Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary. He was also placed on administrative leave, and the department said it was investigating prior calls Hortz handled to see if similar instances had occurred.
“The suspected criminal actions of this deputy are a violation of public trust,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “This deputy will be held accountable through a swift and thorough process including a full criminal and internal administrative investigation.”
Hortz is facing three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. He remained behind bars Thursday evening in lieu of $20,000 bond.