OC Sheriff’s Deputy Caught on Tape Burglarizing Dead Man’s Home

September 11, 2020 Updated: September 12, 2020

A deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was arrested Sept. 10 after allegedly stealing items from the home of a deceased Yorba Linda, California, resident.

Deputy Steven Hortz was booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of an assault weapon, grand theft, and possession of burglary tools after he was caught on a security camera breaking into the home on at least three different occasions.

The Sheriff’s Department said in a media release that it was contacted on Sept. 9 by an attorney representing the family estate who reported some items were missing from the residence.

The attorney provided home surveillance video evidence of the deputy breaking into the home multiple times, and taking stolen items with him on the way out.

Hortz, who had been with the department for 12 years, originally responded to a service call on July 20 regarding a man in his 70s who had passed away in his home from natural causes, according to the news release.

The deputy returned to the residence in uniform on July 27 and broke into the home through the rear entrance. The department says it’s unclear whether he stole property at this time.

Hortz returned to the unoccupied residence again on Aug. 10 and Aug. 16, this time in civilian clothes, and allegedly removed items including weapon safes, ceiling fans, and other cases full of unknown property.

After being contacted by the family’s attorney and seeing the video evidence, the department launched an investigation and ultimately arrested Holtz on suspicion of burglary.

According to the department, the deputy is now being held on $20,000 bail in the Santa Ana jail.

Additionally, the department is looking into prior calls the deputy handled to see if any similar thefts occurred that went unnoticed.

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

“This deputy will be held accountable through a swift and thorough process including a full criminal and internal administrative investigation.”

Barnes said Hortz’s actions “undermine the good work done every day by the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.”

“I will hold accountable deputies who do not honor the oath they swore to uphold. It is imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that the men and women who have the privilege to wear the badge humbly recognize the responsibility entrusted to them as a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.”