SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $150,000 in parking machine money at the college and possessing stolen property, while his wife is being charged as an accessory.
Jeffrey Holzworth, 53, a SRJC police officer for 28 years, entered the guilty plea in Sonoma County Superior Court Wednesday morning to one count of grand theft and 11 counts of possession of stolen property.
His 50-year-old wife, Karen Holzworth, was held over for trial on being an accessory to her husband’s crimes and possession of stolen property charges at a hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi argued Karen Holzworth knew her husband Jeffrey Holzworth was stealing the money from the parking machines, and she deposited large amounts of $1 bills in banks and immediately withdrew the money in larger bills.
Ariyoshi also told Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite stacks of $1 bills that were taken from the parking machines were found in common areas of the house, including a bedroom and the kitchen.
Karen Holzworth’s attorney George Boisseau argued the money was kept in the garage and attic, areas of the house that were associated with Jeffrey Holzworth.
Santa Rosa police detective Mark Azzouni testified for the prosecution. Evidence also included a recorded telephone call Jeffrey Holzworth made from the county jail to his wife. During the call, Karen Holzworth expressed concern she also would be arrested.
During the recorded call, Holzworth tells his wife, “You told me to stop, but I didn’t listen.”
Boisseau also argued there is no evidence the $1 bills his client deposited in banks came from the parking machines, and that even if Karen Holzworth knew about the thefts, she did nothing to help her husband take the money.
“Knowing is not enough. There wasn’t any participation,” Boisseau said.
Thistlethwaite ruled Karen Holzworth knew about the thefts and deposited the cash from her husband’s illegal conduct.
During one 7-day period, Karen Holzworth deposited $651 in one dollar bills, Thistlethwaite said.
It is reasonable to assume the money came from Jeffrey Holzworth “stealing money hand over fist,” Thistlethwaite said.
Thistlethwaite indicated she would sentence him to no more than four years in state prison on May 29. He faced 12 years and four months in prison if convicted of all 12 counts.
Ariyoshi said Karen Holzworth likely would receive probation if she is convicted because, like her husband, she has no prior record.
The thefts occurred between January 2005 and November 2012. The complaint against Holzworth, a Santa Rosa Junior College police officer for 28 years, alleged more than $150,000 was taken, and Holzworth is believed to have stolen nearly $288,000, according to the prosecution.
The couple used the money to take vacations, visit a casino and for living expenses, Ariyoshi said.
Boisseau said the couple was having financial difficulties.
Santa Rosa police learned about the thefts from the SRJC police department on Nov. 1, 2012, and Holzworth was arrested three weeks later.
Karen Holzworth was arrested on Jan. 31, 2013. Both are out of custody.
Karen Holzworth will enter pleas to the stolen property and accessory charges on April 14.
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