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OC Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Felonies for Forging Theft Report

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An Orange County Sheriff’s deputy could receive a maximum sentence of four years and eight months in state prison for allegedly falsifying a police report about a stolen license plate in May 2019, according to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s Office.  

Deputy Chad Renegar, an eight-year veteran of the police force, was charged with two felonies: one for filing a false police report and one for perjury. It is alleged that he changed the location of the reported license plate theft, filed the report under a trainee’s name and forged the victim’s signature.  

Renegar was training a new patrol deputy in Rancho Santa Margarita on May 16, 2019. They responded to a call from a woman who reported that her license plate had been stolen in Santa Monica, an area outside of the OC Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdiction. However, Renegar had her sign a form to report the theft anyway.

“A sergeant later rejected the report because of the out-of-county location of the crime. Renegar is accused of instructing the trainee to change the location of the theft to Rancho Santa Margarita. When she didn’t, Renegar is accused of typing the report for her under her name,” Public Information Officer Kimberly Edds said in the press release.

Renegar has since been put on administrative leave. His arraignment proceeding is scheduled for March 24 at the Central Justice Center. 

“The theft should have been reported to the jurisdiction where the theft occurred,” Edds told the New University.

The OC District Attorney’s Office charged three other OC Sheriff’s deputies with felonies in 2020 alone, according to various press releases. Former Deputy Angelina Cortez was charged with a felony for falsifying a police report after she and a training officer responded to a theft at a 7-Eleven in San Clemente on Nov. 19, 2018.

“Cortez is accused of taking the theft suspect’s debit card, putting it in her uniform shirt pocket and later giving it to her son, who then used it. The card was never booked into evidence,” Edds said in a September 2020 press release.

Cortez pleaded guilty to the theft and was convicted on Jan. 8. Her maximum prison sentence of three years was reduced to one year probation and 120 hours of community service, court records show.

Former OC Deputy Steve Hortz, a 12-year police veteran, was charged with multiple felonies and could receive a maximum prison sentence of four years and four months for stealing 15 firearms and other items from the home of a man he found dead during a welfare check.  

Hortz was “captured on home surveillance video returning to the home several times, including once while on duty and wearing his Sheriff’s uniform, and taking guns and other items from the home,” Edds said in a press release.

Hortz pleaded not guilty to all charges. Court records show his case remains open, and he is scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 26.

OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer also charged Sheriff’s deputy Kyle Pickard, 28, with three felonies for allegedly attacking his girlfriend at a birthday celebration, according to a press release. Pickard pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled for a pre-trial court hearing on Feb. 23, court records show. His maximum prison sentence is three years.

Renegar’s maximum prison sentence for forging a police report is the longest among the individuals noted. Spitzer made a statement regarding the recent Renegar forgery case.  

“Maintaining trust and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect has never been more important,” Spitzer said. “Dishonesty among the ranks of our law enforcement jeopardizes that trust and it will not be tolerated.”

Kallen Hittner is a City News Intern for the 2021 winter quarter. He can be reached at khittner@uci.edu.