Former SLO County cop evades jail in grand theft case

March 17, 2015
Michael South

Michael South

A former officer with the Grover Beach and Atascadero police departments admitted that he used his security position to steal from residents of a Thousand Oaks retirement community, but the former policeman will not do any jail time as punishment for his crimes. [TO Acorn]

Michael South, 58, burglarized homes at the University Village senior living community, stealing guns, jewelry, medication and other items. South had key access to each of the homes because he was security director at the retirement village.

Last November, South pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft, one count of first-degree residential burglary and two counts of theft from an elder or dependent adult. Each of the offenses are felonies, but on Feb. 4, a Ventura County judge sentenced South to five years of probation.

South must also pay court fees and a total of $11,445 in restitution to five victims. But, residents of the retirement community say the sentence is too light.

“The system failed,” village resident Adrian Harris said. “The punishment didn’t fit the crime.”

As part of the plea deal, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop a charge of grand theft of a firearm.

One University Village resident said during sentencing that South stole guns that he had possessed since he was a child.

In 2007, Atascadero fired South for sexual harassment and lying during a background check. Prior to working for the Atascadero force, South worked as a Grover Beach officer from 1995 to 2002.


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8 Comments

  1. standup says:

    Be lucky scumbag pig that you didn’t steal from my parents otherwise I would bring you my form of justice. You too stupid judge. What a racket we live in.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  2. fhill123 says:

    Equal justice for all? I think not.

    (39) 39 Total Votes - 39 up - 0 down
  3. joseywales says:

    just think about how many people this guys has royally screwed over in his career…..

    (43) 43 Total Votes - 43 up - 0 down
  4. kayaknut says:

    The golden glove treatment apparently does stop after you leave the force, regardless of the reason. I guess once a cop always treated special no matter how many felonies you commit.

    (43) 45 Total Votes - 44 up - 1 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      In some jurisdictions this is apparently true but I would guess that some are less likely to give breaks to ex-cops who do premeditated crimes like this. The one big crime for which any cop is unlikely to receive a break is pedophilia.

      I’m guessing that there was something more to this plea bargain. Maybe he held out on the location of some of the stolen goods until he was cut a break? I am sure an ex-cop knows how to work the system just as well as a career criminal. But, unfortunately, you could be completely right and this is just another example of the dual system of justice that is splitting our country apart.

      (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
  5. TaxMeAgain says:

    Scum. At least with FOUR felonies on his record he won’t be handed any guns or keys at his next job. JAIL time is what this A5S clown needs. That, and a good beating. I wonder what he did for SEVEN YEARS on the Grover PD?

    (42) 42 Total Votes - 42 up - 0 down
  6. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    NorCoMod, I could not agree more. He was charged with three felonies and could have had even more crimes added on. That is standard operating procedure: load up the charges, plea bargain them down to get a conviction. No jail time? Whatever happened to three strikes you’re out? At a minimum he should be imprisoned for at least ten years. Guess he’ll still get his PERS retirement so maybe the nursing home victims could attach that. He’s over 55 so he could collect it.

    The emotional loss from this theft has been ignored by this judge. If this guy had ripped off HIS parents or him, be assured this guy would be behind bars in an instant! The intrinsic value of some items may be small but the emotional attachment was priceless. How sad.

    Meanwhile the victims’ heirs will probably sue the nursing home and everyone will spend lotsof money on lawsuits while this guy goes his merry way.

    It would make a great movie – a spouse of one of the nursing home residents takes matters into his own hands when he discovers this guy ripped off his family.. At his age would he care if he was caught and went to trial? Would he be convicted by a jury of his peers? Hmmm..

    (40) 40 Total Votes - 40 up - 0 down
  7. NorCoMod says:

    Mr. Harris, one of South’s victims states, “the system failed”, If the case went as this article states, then Mr. Harris is right. No jail time?
    I’m not a big fan of the justice system in China, but when it comes to their style of punishment for jerk-offs like South, I’m on board.
    Oh and good luck on restitution for the victims. They won’t live long enough to see a dime.

    (47) 49 Total Votes - 48 up - 1 down

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