A sheriff’s deputy in Florida, who was caught on home surveillance video last month reportedly stealing from a recently-deceased man, was arrested by authorities on Thursday.
Deputy Jason Cooke of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was charged with burglary and grand theft with a firearm, WPBF reported. He was released on house arrest after paying a $28,000 bond.
Cooke is accused of robbing a house that belonged to Moe Rosoff, an 85-year-old man who had injured himself in a blackout during Hurricane Irma and later died, ABC 10 News reported.
Rosoff’s family had reportedly asked authorities on Sept. 12 to do a welfare check on their father, who was braving the storm alone. Three deputies found the elderly man on the floor of his home and brought him to the hospital before he eventually died.
The family alleged that the accused deputy heard the garage entry code over his police radio and went to the victim’s house, knowing he wouldn’t be there, ABC reported.
Unbeknownst to the suspect, surveillance cameras at the house turned on when he entered, CBS 12 reported. The family later saw the video and turned it over to the police on Sept. 20.
They claim the deputy wandered around the house and stole money, jewelry and medication.
They also suggested that Cooke received “preferential treatment” from the sheriff’s office, noting that the suspect wasn’t arrested until five weeks after they initially turned over the video, CBS 12 said.
Police allowed Cooke, who reportedly only admitted to the crime after seeing the surveillance video, to attend a 30-day drug rehabilitation program before facing arrest, the family said.
Cooke’s patrol car was found to have several types of prescription drugs inside, not all of which reportedly belonged to the victim. The family alleged that this was potentially not the deputy’s first crime and that he “posed a significant threat to the public’s safety,” CBS 12 reported.
“In our opinion, had we not had this video, this cop would still be out there posing a threat of danger to the community he swore to protect and committing more crimes,” the family said in a statement. “It is our hope that the justice system treats this cop like any other criminal out there and that he doesn't receive further preferential treatment because he is a police officer.”
“Unfortunately sometimes an employee makes a bad decision which leads to misconduct,” the sheriff's office said in a statement following Cooke's arrest. “This misconduct was reported, investigated and subsequently determined to be criminal in nature, resulting in the charges.”
According to the family, the suspect was placed on paid administrative leave, CBS 12 said.