OC deputy arrested on suspicion of burglarizing home of dead elderly man

An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested after he was caught on surveillance video allegedly burglarizing a home in Yorba Linda.  

Deputy Steve Hortz is a 12-year veteran of the department. 

According to a statement from the sheriff’s department, Hortz responded to a Yorba Linda home on July 20 regarding an elderly man who passed away from natural causes. 

On September 9 the sheriff’s department was contacted by the family’s attorney who reported items were missing from the house. 

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The attorney provided home surveillance video which captured the deputy entering the house unauthorized at least three items and exiting with stolen property.

Officials say the first incident occurred on July 27. While in uniform, Hortz broke into the house through the back and left a short time later. They say it’s unclear if a theft occurred that time.

The deputy then returned to the house in the early morning hours of August 10 and August 16; this time he wasn’t wearing his deputy uniform. The department says Hortz removed items such as a weapons safe, ceiling fans, and other cases containing unknown items. 

The house was believed to be empty. 

The deputy was arrested on September 10 and was booked into the Santa Ana Jail on suspicion of burglary.

He has also been placed on administrative leave. The department says they will be investigating prior calls handled by the deputy to determine if similar incidents have occurred before. 

“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.