Two Dallas County deputies arrested for stealing from tornado-damaged Home Depot

Two Dallas County sheriff’s deputies have been arrested for allegedly stealing from the Home Depot that they were supposed to be guarding after it was damaged by a recent tornado.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Joseph Bobadilla and Sergeant Rebecca Evans were hired to work off-duty guarding the store on Forest Lane in Dallas after part of the store collapsed after being hit by an EF-3 tornado on Oct. 20.

The two are accused of taking items from the store during their shifts and later exchanging them at another location for in-store credit. Bobadilla allegedly purchased other items, including appliances, using that credit, DCSO said.

Both have been charged with felony theft of property.

A spokesman for the department would not say how detectives were able to determine Bobadilla and Reed were responsible for the thefts, only that Home Depot’s corporate office tipped them off about it happening.

“The Dallas Sheriff’s Office does not condone or support employees that break the law.  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,” Sheriff Marian Brown said in a news release.

Home Depot referred all questions to law enforcement.

Detectives executed a search warrant at Bobadilla’s Garland home Thursday morning. They were seen carrying out large appliances as evidence.

“It’s just shocking. He’s not like that,” said Monique Scott, who is one of Bobadilla’s neighbors.

One after another, DCSO deputies hauled out boxes of large appliances from Bobadilla’s home.

All were items that investigators said Bobadilla bought by returning merchandise he stole while working off-duty guarding the Home Depot that suffered severe damage from last month’s tornado. It has been closed ever since.

“I can’t believe he did that. I can’t believe it. It's still shocking. They’re bringing out evidence, a lot of it,” Scott said. “When they pulled up, it was like 15, 16, maybe 17 Dallas sheriff trucks, then I saw unmarked cars, then I saw them go into the yard over there. I thought it was a raid or something.”

DCSO later confirmed the arrest of a second deputy, Evans, on the same felony theft charge. She remained quiet as she bailed out of jail Thursday evening.

Evans has been with DCSO for 16 years.

Sharon Daniel lives next door to Evans in Midlothian. She says she never expected theft.

"She’s always been real dependable and real good with her kids," Daniel said. "I never would’ve thought anything like this would have ever happened.”

Bobadilla has been with the sheriff’s office since July 2014. He started as a detention officer, then was promoted and graduated the deputy academy in October 2016.

Both face stiffer penalties, if convicted, because of their jobs as public servants.

The district attorney’s office also warned last week it will aggressively enforce a new state law that increases the punishment for crimes in disaster areas, including theft.

“It’s surprising and it’s kind of alarming, I guess, in a sense. They’re supposed to be protecting us, but they’re instead doing the opposite: stealing from things that just got destroyed,” another one of Bobadilla’s neighbors, Brenda Gallardo, said.

As for their employment status, authorities said internal affairs will now be investigating them, and both are subject to termination.

DCSO said the investigation is active and ongoing.