Nearly a year ago, an eight-mile section of the San Fernando Valley was locked down for 10 hours as a search was conducted for a suspect who allegedly shot a school security officer.
Today, former LAUSD officer and Santa Clarita resident Jeff Stenroos faced Judge Richard Kirchner in Van Nuys Superior Court and accepted a five-year sentence for his misdeeds.
Stenroos allegedly faked his own shooting while he was on duty at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills on Jan. 19. A Good Samaritan found Stenroos lying on the ground near his open car door and called for help.
Stenroos allegedly told fellow officers that a car burglary suspect shot him once in the chest as he was patrolling the campus perimeter. More than 550 law enforcement officers throughout Southern California responded and conducted a 10-hour search, shutting down an eight-square-mile area in the Valley.
LAPD investigators determined that there had not been a shooting and that Stenroos had conjured up the whole scenario. In September, Kirchner found Stenroos guilty of four felonies: insurance fraud, workers compensation fraud, preparing false documentary evidence and planting false evidence and one misdemeanor, falsely reporting an emergency.
Although his sentence is five years in jail – prison is not specified, under new realignment legislation – Kirchner said that Stenroos will only have to serve two years of his sentence, provided he behaves during his confinement and probationary period. He will also have to serve 400 hours of community service and is scheduled to return to court January 19 for a restitution hearing.
District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said that restitution in the amount of $361,289 is being sought for costs incurred by LAPD, LA City and LAUSD and there may be additional medical costs which were not necessary because no injury occurred.
Additional costs for keeping students in lockdown at eight campuses may also be considered at the January hearing.