Palm Beach County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Cooke was arrested Thursday after surveillance video caught the officer burglarizing the home of an elderly man as he laid dying in the hospital. Cooke was charged with armed burglary and grand theft.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the homeowner Moe Rosoff was in his West Boynton home during Hurricane Irma when he experienced a medical episode. He was found on the floor September 12th by sheriff’s deputies and was taken by paramedics to the hospital where he later died. Rosoff’s son, who installed a surveillance system to monitor their father remotely noticed a lack of movement in the home and contact police to do a welfare check. The power had been knocked out during the storm so Rosoff’s Jay was unable to monitor his father live.
Three deputies came to the home to conduct the check, none of which were Cooke, and found the elder Rosoff on the floor of the master bathroom.
While Rosoff laid in the hospital, Cooke took it upon himself to see if there was anything of value at the home to take. According to police, Cooke knew exactly how to get into the home without raising suspicions by obtaining the home-garage code from the sheriff’s dispatch log.
Cooke entered the home setting off the motion sensors which alerted Rosoff’s son. After watching the footage, they called police to alert them of what had transpired.
“It’s appalling that this officer was taking advantage of elderly people,” said the son, Jay Rosoff, 49, of Wake Forest, N.C. “The fact that there was a hurricane, that Florida was in a state of emergency and he was using his authority for bad reasons.”
“When I first saw the video, I was thinking it was a cop sent to the house to check on medication,” Jay Rosoff said. “After looking at it again, he was going through stuff he shouldn’t have gone through.”
Jay and Steven Rosoff were able to make it to Florida last week and check the home. After closer inspection, they realized that cash and jewelry were missing from the home. “We’re assuming he took it as well,” Jay Rosoff said. “I didn’t have a camera in the master bedroom, but he was in there for a minute, going through drawers.” According to investigators, Rosoff rummaged through the drawers and cabinets in the home and was in the home for about five minutes.
Jay Rosoff handed over the surveillance footage to police after the burglary where a sergeant recognized Cooke said the police report. When detectives confronted Cooke about his illegal entry into the home he claimed it was tied to a death investigation he was conducting. When asked if he took anything from the home he claimed to have recovered medication from the call but had not admitted the meds into evidence. The police report did not elaborate as to the death investigation Rosoff was conducting was tied to the homeowner.
Upon searching Cooke’s vehicle 60 pills including muscle relaxers, narcotic painkillers and other medication were found.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying it “holds its employees to the highest standards and never forgets about its duty to preserve the public’s trust.”
“Unfortunately sometimes an employee makes a bad decision, which leads to misconduct,” it said. “This misconduct was reported, investigated and subsequently determined to be criminal in nature, resulting in the charges.”
The Sun Sentinel reports:
Cooke was held in a Palm Beach County Jail on $28,000 bond. After Cooke made his first appearance in court Friday, a judge ordered him to continue substance abuse treatment, CBS12 said.
Cooke’s attorney, Stuart Kaplan, told CBS12 it was an unfortunate situation.
“Hopefully with proper guidance and counseling, he’ll be able to come out on the better side of this,” Kaplan said.