ORANGE COUNTY, California – A former deputy in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, previously charged with multiple felony charges, has been charged with allegedly stealing a deceased woman’s credit cards and attempting to use them to make purchases worth several thousand dollars.
Steve Hortz, of San Dimas, responded on August 19, 2020 at the woman’s home in Yorba Linda for a welfare check and found her dead inside, said Kimberly Edds, chief public information officer. from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
While at home, Hortz allegedly stole three credit cards and then used them to make thousands of dollars in unauthorized online purchases, although most purchases were refused.
Hortz, who was arrested last September on unrelated charges, was charged Friday with four counts of attempted grand theft and one count of identity theft and embezzlement, said Edds said. He faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison if convicted on all counts.
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Hortz, 42, had previously been charged with several counts stemming from a similar incident in which he and two other Orange County sheriff’s deputies responded on July 20, 2020 to a house on Via Angelina Drive to Yorba Linda to perform another wellness check, Edds said.
The man who owned the house was found dead inside what was later determined to be of natural causes.
After the welfare check, Hortz was recorded by surveillance cameras that reportedly returned to the man’s home several times, including once while he was on duty in uniform, to steal for $ 27,000. guns and other items, Edds said.
The sheriff’s department opened an investigation after the estates attorney responsible for the man’s estate reported that a law enforcement officer may have stolen items from the home.
Hortz was arrested on September 10, 2020 and resigned from the department in lieu of dismissal effective September 30, 2020.
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He was charged in December 2020 with three counts of second degree burglary and two counts of firearm theft in connection with a break-in at Yorba Linda’s home, Edds said.
“This individual has been called in to help grieving families in times of need and instead he has betrayed their trust,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
“This behavior is unbecoming of someone wearing the badge and luckily as a result of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigation, he is no longer able to use his uniform and badge to victimize the very people he has sworn to protect. “
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