Sentencing set for parking meter pilferer

Erik Jorgensen, Editor-at-Large

Former campus cop Jeffrey Holzworth faces sentencing May 29 for stealing $286,000 from parking meters at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The 28-year veteran SRJC District Police officer accepted a plea deal at his April 2 preliminary hearing; in exchange for a possible maximum four years in prison, Holzworth pleaded guilty to 11 charges of receiving stolen property and one charge of grand theft embezzlement, enhanced for an amount over $150,000.

Holzworth held sole unsupervised responsibility to collect to money from campus parking machines.

Holzworth’s wife Karen continues to trial facing two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of acting as an accessory.

Bank records show both Holzworths regularly made deposit-withdrawals of large amounts of quarters and $1 and $5 bills in exchange for larger bills. Holzworth told bank employees he owned a vending machine company to explain his frequent exchanges of large amounts of small bills.

Money collected from SRJC parking machines increased from $215,805 the year before Holzworth’s arrest up to $428,554 the following year. “Almost exactly double,” said Student Trustee Robert Edmonds. “Almost like he was taking 50 percent and leaving 50 percent. As far as I know, enrollment hasn’t changed significantly in that time, not by a margin of two-to-one.”

SRJC will pay Holzworth’s pension since he retired one day before a law took effect to punish public employees convicted of on-the-job felonies. “It is morally reprehensible that he would receive his pension,” Edmonds said. “The District should seek some legal remedy to avoid paying. The District is considering raising parking fees for students and the fact Holzworth was allowed to steal student funds for so many years should be considered in any decision to raise parking fees for students.”

Holzworth graduated from SRJC’s police academy and spent two years as a student cadet before joining SRJC’s brand-new police force in 1984.

SRJC District Police Chief Matthew McCaffrey said he will attend Holzworth’s sentencing hearing. McCaffrey called Santa Rosa Police detectives Nov. 1, 2012, less than a month after assuming command, after Holzworth’s coworkers found stacks of cash in his duffle bag and his truck’s center console. SRPD detectives found $13,759.67 in quarters and $1 and $5 bills in Holzworth’s house, vehicles and work locker.

Holzworth’s sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. May 29 in courtroom 2 at Sonoma County Superior Court is open to the public.