46-year-old Juan Manuel Rodriguez is employed as an Orange County probation officer. While on assignment with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Apprehension Team he has been suspected of taking money from the residents of the homes where he assisted in serving search warrants.
On August 8 Rodriguez visited a residence in Santa Ana in order to serve a search warrant. The person being served was distracted during the period that Rodriguez was inspecting their identification card, and they claimed that $150 had gone missing from their wallet. The victim alerted one of the sheriff’s deputies on site immediately after noticing the money was gone.
According to prosecutors, sheriff’s officials made the decision to organize a sting operation two days after the incident was reported in an attempt to apprehend the offender. A vehicle was rigged with a hidden surveillance camera and $1,200 was planted inside.
Rodriguez dispatched to the home containing the bait car in order to present a search warrant, and in the process of searching the automobile he allegedly swiped nearly $1000. He then reported that he had found only a small amount of money in the vehicle.
The missing money was later discovered in Rodriguez’s wallet, and he was placed under arrest on Thursday. He has been charged with one felony count of grand theft and two misdemeanor counts of petty theft, and if he is convicted he could face up to four years in jail.
A spokesperson for the probation department reported that Rodriguez still remains an employee, but he has been placed on administrative leave.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a theft crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.