It had been just 90 minutes after paramedics took a dying 85-year-old man from his West Boynton home to the hospital.
With no one home, in came an intruder of the unusual kind: A sheriff’s deputy who knew exactly how to carry out a burglary, authorities say. He had gotten the home-garage code from the sheriff’s dispatch log and used it to creep inside the residence, they say.
What Palm Beach County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Cooke may not have known: The home’s surveillance system detected motion inside the home and instantly notified Moe Rosoff’s sons, who watched the footage from afar and notified authorities, a sheriff’s report says.
Cooke was arrested Thursday on charges of armed burglary and grand theft.
Rosoff, who stayed in his longtime home during Hurricane Irma, was found on the floor Sept. 12. After being taken by paramedics, he was pronounced dead hours later at the hospital, said one of his sons.
“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.”
Jay Rosoff’s mother, Edith Rosoff, died in June. So he bought a surveillance camera for his father’s home to keep an eye on him from North Carolina.
Last month, Hurricane Irma knocked out the power to his father’s home. But once it came back, Jay Rosoff looked at the surveillance footage and didn’t see his dad moving around the house. He called deputies to check on his dad.
The three deputies — none of them was Cooke — found Moe Rosoff on the floor of the master bathroom.
Once Moe Rosoff was in the hospital and the home was unoccupied, Cooke showed up, seizing the opportunity to burglarize the home, investigators say. Jay Rosoff was watching, he said.
“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.”
Investigators say Cooke rummaged through cabinets and drawers throughout the house. He left about five minutes after he entered the residence.
Jay Rosoff said he and his brother Steven were in Florida last weekend and noticed cash and jewelry 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.”
Sometime after the burglary, Jay Rosoff handed over the video to the Sheriff’s Office. A sergeant watched it and recognized Cooke, according to the report.
Investigators interviewed Cooke, asking if he had anything else he shouldn’t have, the sheriff’s report said.
Cooke said he was at a death investigation and recovered some medications from the call and had not submitted them into evidence. The sheriff’s report doesn’t say whether the death investigation pertained to Moe Rosoff.
Investigators searched Cooke’s patrol car to find 60 pills, including narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxers and other medicine.
In a statement, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said 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 Sheriff’s Office placed Cooke on administrative leave, according to Sun Sentinel news partner WPEC-CBS12.
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.