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Affidavits: Former SRJC cop Jeffrey Holzworth, suspected of stealing, visited prostitute

Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 6:13 p.m.

Undercover surveillance of a former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer accused of stealing $287,000 from campus parking machines reveals he bought things with wads of small bills, had an interest in NFL gambling and visited a prostitute.

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Jeff Holzworth and his wife, Karen, appear in Sonoma County Superior Court, Wednesday Feb. 20, 2013 in response to the couple being accused of embezzlement while Jeff Holzworth was an officer with the Santa Rosa Junior College police..

(Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Search warrant affidavits obtained Friday show investigators tracked Jeffrey Holzworth in November and December using a GPS device attached to his 2009 Chevrolet pickup.

Detectives followed the 28-year veteran as he performed his work duties, which included collecting mostly $1 and $5 bills from parking machines on campuses in Santa Rosa and Windsor.

He was supposed to hand the money over to the school's accounting department but was seen by police carrying bags and envelopes directly to his house.

Officers also tracked his off-duty activities, which involved depositing bundles of small denominations and rolls of quarters in personal bank accounts and then making withdrawals.

He explained his activity to tellers at Community First Credit Union on Stony Point Road by saying he owned a vending machines business.

“Based on this information, it appears that Holzworth turns in bills with small denominations ($1s and $5s) for larger bills ($100s),” Det. Mark Azzouni wrote in search warrant documents.

Holzworth, 51, also led officers to stores, such as Walmart in Windsor, and the Extended Stay Hotel on Corby Avenue in Santa Rosa, where on Nov. 13 he spent about 45 minutes in a room with a prostitute.

Officers combed through garbage cans outside Holzworth's house and found football gambling notes and discarded bank receipts. A Redwood Credit Union account was in his wife's name.

Parking machine receipts found in a Dumpster indicated Holzworth tried to hide any evidence of the stolen funds. Police said he was the only school employee who knew how much money was collected.

“If he does not turn in the money from a particular machine, the omission would not be recognized by accounting or police department staff,” Azzouni wrote. “Each machine runs independently and they do not network with a central processing database.”

Holzworth, who faces up to a dozen years in prison if convicted of thefts over an eight-year period, is reportedly in talks with prosecutors to settle the case.

This week he pleaded not guilty to 12 felony counts but accepted responsibility for the crime in early police statements, his lawyer said.

He was arrested last year after a fellow officer reported suspicious behavior.

His wife, Karen Holzworth, 49, is charged with being an accessory.

Holzworth said through his attorney that his wife was not involved in the thefts. However, prosecutors said there is evidence that she was an active participant. Police obtained a warrant for her Redwood Credit Union account information in December and arrested her Jan. 31.

Both are free on bail.

(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.)

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