SANTA ANA, Ca. (Sept. 10, 2020): Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Hortz has been booked into jail on suspicion of burglary.
The deputy, a 12-year veteran of the Department, responded to a call for service on July 20, 2020 at a Yorba Linda residence regarding a man in his 70s who died from apparent natural causes. On September 9, the Department was contacted by an attorney representing the family estate who reported items missing from the residence. The attorney provided home surveillance video that captured the deputy making unauthorized entrance to the residence on at least three separate occasions and exiting with stolen property.
In the first incident, the deputy returned to the residence on July 27. While in uniform, he broke into the unoccupied residence through the rear and left a short time later. It is unclear whether a theft occurred at that time.
The deputy returned to the residence in the early morning on August 10 and August 16 while in civilian clothes and removed items including weapon safes, ceiling fans, and cases containing unknown items. It is believed the home was unoccupied.
Upon learning of the burglaries, the Department launched an immediate investigation. The deputy was arrested the morning of September 10, 2020 and has been booked into the Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary. He was also placed on administrative leave, and the Department will investigate prior calls handled by the deputy to determine if similar unreported instances have occurred.
“The suspected criminal actions of this deputy are a violation of public trust, are inexcusable and intolerable,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “This deputy will be held accountable through a swift and thorough process including a full criminal and internal administrative investigation.
“These actions undermine the good work done every day by the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. We have proudly served the community of Yorba Linda since 2013. As your Sheriff, I want you to know that these criminal actions by a member of my staff will not be tolerated and are not indicative of the service we provide to Yorba Linda, or any other contract city.
“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.”