Florida Cop Steals From Man Hospitalized After Hurricane

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When Jay Rosoff alerted sheriff's deputies that his 85-year-old father Moe was not moving around in his West Boynton, Florida home following Hurricane Irma, he was expecting help from officers and hoping for the best. And while three officers did help Moe get to the hospital after finding him collapsed on the floor in his bathroom, another did something far worse.

The same surveillance cameras installed in Moe's house that told Jay his father might be in trouble also showed Palm Beach County sheriff's Deputy Jason Cooke entering the home after it was empty, rummaging through cabinets and drawers, and allegedly stealing medication, cash, and jewelry. Moe Rosoff passed away at a hospital hours later, and Cooke has been charged with grand theft of a controlled substance and armed burglary during a state of emergency.

Cop Caught on Tape

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Jay Rosoff installed the surveillance system after his mother, Edith Rosoff, died in June, as a way to keep an eye on his father from his home in North Carolina. "When I first saw the video, I was thinking it was a cop sent to the house to check on medication," the younger Rosoff told the paper. "After looking at it again, he was going through stuff he shouldn't have gone through." When Jay and his brother Steven were in the Florida home later, they also noticed cash and jewelry were missing. "We're assuming he took it as well," Jay said. "I didn't have a camera in the master bedroom, but he was in there for a minute, going through drawers."

Cooke, who was not one of the three officers who responded to the initial call or aided Moe Rosoff, allegedly got the garage door code from the sheriff's dispatch log, used it to enter the residence, and left five minutes after entering. When he was arrested, investigators found 60 pills, including narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxers, and other medicine in Cooke's patrol car. He claimed to have been at a death investigation and recovered some medications from the call, but had not submitted them into evidence yet.

State of Emergency Statute

Under Florida law, burglary of the kind Cooke is accused is generally a second degree felony. But the statute specifically states "if the burglary is committed within a county that is subject to a state of emergency ... after the declaration of emergency is made and the perpetration of the burglary is facilitated by conditions arising from the emergency, the burglary is a felony of the first degree." This means that Cooke could be facing up to 30 years in prison on that charge alone.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office "holds its employees to the highest standards and never forgets about its duty to preserve the public's trust," the department asserted in a statement. "Unfortunately sometimes an employee makes a bad decision, which leads to misconduct ... This misconduct was reported, investigated and subsequently determined to be criminal in nature, resulting in the charges."

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