A Dallas County grand jury has indicted two Dallas County Sheriff's Office deputies who are accused of looting a Home Depot on Forest Lane in Dallas following the Oct. 20 tornado that destroyed the home improvement store and much of the surrounding area.
Owners of the Home Depot hired Sgt. Rebecca Evans and Deputy Joseph Bobadilla to watch the store after the tornado. Turns out, Evans and Bobadilla were the foxes in the proverbial hen house, according to authorities.
Rather than watching out for the store, Bobadilla allegedly stole more than 70 tools and appliances from the Home Depot and got help from Evans removing and loading the pilfered goods. Bobadilla then returned them to another Home Depot, according to the sheriff's office, and then used the store credit he got in return to buy appliances and other merchandise.
Home Depot became aware of the thefts and told the sheriff's office.
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In late November, deputies searched Bobadilla's home in Garland. TV cameras spotted deputies hauling off at least one plastic-wrapped washing machine from the property.
“The Dallas Sheriff’s Office does not condone or support employees that break the law," Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown said in a statement issued after the search. "Our core values are integrity, professionalism and accountability, and as a result, we will follow the proper procedures and guidelines in place to uphold the law and ensure the deputy is held responsible for his actions.”
Authorities initially charged Bobadilla and Evans with theft of property worth more than $750 but less than $2,500, a Class A misdemeanor. The grand jury upped their charges to theft of property valued at more than $2,500 but less than $30,000, a state jail felony. Typically, state jail felonies carry a sentence of six months to two years in prison. If convicted, Bobadilla and Evans could face additional time because their alleged crime occurred in a declared disaster area.