Former O.C. sheriff’s deputy charged with stealing dead woman’s credit cards

Steve Hortz
Steve Hortz, shown in his September 2020 booking photo.
(Orange County Sheriff’s Department )

A former Orange County sheriff’s deputy stole credit cards from a dead woman’s Yorba Linda home and used them to make purchases from QVC and an automotive parts store, prosecutors said Friday.

The charges come after Steve Hortz was previously indicted on multiple felonies in connection with breaking into the home of a dead man to steal more than $27,000 in guns and other items in July 2020. He has pleaded not guilty, and that case is ongoing.

The Orange County district attorney’s office announced Hortz’s second case Friday. His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 26.


Hortz’s attorney, Shaheen Manshoory, said prosecutors have not turned over much information in the case.

“At this time, we will let the process play out in court,“ Manshoory said in an email Friday.

Authorities arrested Hortz last year in that first case, alleging that the 12-year veteran had responded to the man’s home in Yorba Linda for a welfare check on July 20, 2020, and found the homeowner dead of natural causes. Hortz allegedly returned to the home several times — including once on duty wearing his deputy uniform — to steal the man’s belongings.

The burglaries were captured on home surveillance video, and a probate attorney reported the thefts to the Sheriff’s Department. Hortz was arrested on Sept. 10, 2020, and resigned 20 days later instead of being fired. He was indicted on three felony counts of second-degree burglary and two felony counts of grand theft of a firearm.

Authorities have since discovered that in August 2020 — before Hortz was identified as a suspect in the deceased man’s case — he was called to the home of a dead woman in Yorba Linda, where he allegedly stole three credit cards.

Prosecutors allege that he tried to make thousands of dollars’ worth of unauthorized online purchases — the majority of which were declined — and have some of them sent to his home.

Hortz was charged Friday with one felony count of identity theft, one felony count of grand theft embezzlement, and four felony counts of attempted grand theft. He faces four years and four months in state prison if convicted in the credit card case.