Former SLO County cop evades jail in grand theft case
March 17, 2015
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.