An Orange County probation officer, who a Santa Ana resident previously accused of theft, was set up by sheriff’s deputies for a sting in which he allegedly stole $1,000, according to prosecutors.
Juan Manuel Rodriguez was arrested Thursday on charges of stealing money while he was assigned to execute search warrants on residences in Santa Ana, states an arraignment statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
If convicted of the felony count of grand theft and two misdemeanor counts of petty theft against him, the 46-year-old could spend three years in state prison and another year in county jail, the OCDA says.
On the bright side, should that happen, Rodriguez would likely run into probationers he knows.
That’s because he was an Orange County Probation Officer assigned to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Apprehension Team, which he helped on Aug. 8 execute a search warrant at a residence on Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana, the OCDA says.
Rodriguez is accused of asking a resident for identification and being given a wallet holding the card as the person at the home went to a separate area with deputies. After that resident was cleared and given back his wallet, he noticed $150 missing, which he reported to a sheriff’s sergeant at the scene, prosecutors say.
Two days later, deputies set up a “bait” car containing $1,200 in various denominations of cash—and a hidden video camera. When an unrelated search warrant was served at a residence on North Tustin Avenue in Santa Ana, Rodriguez searched the bait car, according to the OCDA.
Afterward, $1,000 in cash was missing from the vehicle, which was left with only $1 bills, note prosecutors, who add that later the same day, the same grand that had been in the car was found in Rodriguez’s wallet.
Some time obviously elapsed since that discovery, as he was only arrested Thursday.