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Jr. College Ex-Cop Gets 4 Years Behind Bars for Stealing Parking Money

"You were greedy. It got too easy and it became your lifestyle," judge tells Jeffrey Holzworth, 52, who spent the pilfered cash on vacations, at casinos and living a lifestyle beyond his means.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
A former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer was sentenced this morning to four years in prison for stealing more than $100,000 from campus parking machines.

Jeffrey Holzworth, 52, pleaded guilty in April to one count of theft and 11 counts of receiving stolen property between 2005 and 2012 as part of a plea agreement for the four-year term.

Holzworth was sentenced on the grand theft charge and an enhancement alleging a loss of more than $100,000.

The concurrent sentences for the receiving stolen property charges were stayed. Holzworth had faced 12 years and four months in prison and the amount he actually stole is believed to be around $286,000, prosecutors said.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite told Holzworth, "You were greedy. It got too easy and it became your lifestyle."

The judge said she believes in rehabilitation and restitution, but she told the 28-year veteran police officer his actions "go beyond the pale."

[Previous: 
Yup, I Stole $150K in Parking Money! Jr. College Cop Pleads Guilty Today in Sonoma County Court.]

Holzworth apologized to the college, its police force and to the public.

"I'm truly sorry and remorseful and I ask for a second chance," he said.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi said Holzworth used the money to travel to Las Vegas two or three times a year and maintain a lifestyle his police salary would not provide, all at the expense of the junior college.

Ariyoshi said Holzworth stole the money while in uniform and on duty. "It took planning, thought and commitment to do it everyday," she said.

 "Well deserved, well earned," she said of the four-year sentence after the hearing. Matt McCaffrey was SRJC's police chief for only a month when the thefts were discovered.

McCaffrey said a police sergeant noticed many quarters in the console of Holzworth's car and discovered cash when he looked inside it on a trip he and Holzworth were taking to a training event.

The investigation began on Nov. 1, 2012, and Holzworth was arrested on Nov. 28, 2012.

In a statement McCaffrey read to the court, he said Holzworth disgraced his badge and the reputation of the SRJC Police Department and law enforcement in general, and exploited the public's trust for his own personal gain.

"My officers in the field have to hear snide comments about taking money from (parking) permit machines," McCaffrey said.

An insurance company has reimbursed the junior college about $286,000 and Holzworth was ordered to reimburse the insurance company.

"This amount only accounts for the cash that was laundered through the banks Jeff used and that there is a record of," McCaffrey said.

He said parking revenue in the machines was $215,805 in the 12 months before Holzworth's arrest and revenue was $428,554 in the 12 months after his arrest, an increase of about 98 percent despite a 4 percent decrease in enrollment from 2012 to 2013.

McCaffrey said the thefts were not an accident, but were a "cold, calculated and premeditated crime."

The reimbursement from the insurance company was used to purchase new parking machines with upgraded technology and to hire another officer to make sure there are two officers present when revenue is collected from the machines under a "buddy system," McCaffrey said.

Parking at the junior college costs $4 a day and $60 a semester, he said. Defense attorney Joseph Passalacqua asked the court to sentence Holzworth to probation and county jail time with community service.

Passalacqua said there was no criminal activity during 21 of Holzworth's 28 years as a police officer. He submitted 20 character reference letters to the court on his client's behalf.

"He knows he violated a higher standard and he has the stigma of being a 'dirty cop.' He has to live with that and of being a convicted felon," Passalacqua said.

He said his client brought his troubles on himself and has accepted responsibility "from day one."

"He wanted to spoil his daughters. It became a habit. It was too easy," Passalacqua said regarding the thefts.

Holzworth's wife Karen was arrested on Jan. 31, 2013, and was charged with being an accessory and receiving stolen property. A motion to dismiss the charges against her will be heard on June 19.

The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office alleges Karen Holzworth deposited small bills taken from the parking machines in several banks and withdrew it in larger bills.
      
--Bay City News

Rock Fan May 30, 2014 at 07:26 AM
Can you trust anybody to do anything with public cash ? Had this guy only stolen 10 , 20 thousand a year ,nobody would know and he would still be there .

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