LAGUNA NIGUEL — A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy obsessed with bodybuilding was sentenced to more than five years in state prison after pleading guilty to robbing a Lake Forest jewelry store early this year.
Timothy James Sladeck, 29, of Foothill Ranch was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to two counts of armed robbery, one count of felony possession of steroids and a misdemeanor charge of possessing a hypodermic syringe.
Sladeck's roommate, Gabriel Tull, 28, earlier pleaded guilty to charges of illegal steroid possession and assisting in the robbery, and was sentenced to 45 days in Orange County Jail, plus five years probation.
Sladeck and Tull were charged after police traced a new cowboy hat Sladeck lost Jan. 8, moments after after robbing the Jewel Garden jewelry store on El Toro Road. Police arrested Sladeck at his rented Foothill Ranch home, and inside found "a pile of steroids and needles scattered on the bathroom counter," according to a search warrant contained in Orange County court records.
Family members have said Sladeck became desperate after his dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder turned into an expensive obsession, costing him his home, his fiancee and his financial stability. He has remained in the Orange County Jail since his arrest.
Mike Fell, Orange County deputy district attorney, said Sladeck pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, and faced a maximum possible sentence of 20 years. He said prosecutors would have requested a similar 5-year, 8-month sentence had Sladeck been convicted in a trial.
Because a gun was used in the robbery, Sladeck must serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed by South Municipal Court Judge Carlton Biggs, Fell said.
"The people felt that was the appropriate sentence in this case," Fell said. "We had a very strong case against him, and I think he realized that [pleading guilty] was the thing to do."
Sladeck's lawyer, Associate Public Defender Chris Strobel, could not be reached for comment.
Fell said Sladeck's position as a former deputy--he was a bailiff in Los Angeles Metropolitan Court--had no effect on the sentence.
"There's two ways to look at it," he said. "On the one hand, that we had somebody who was a peace officer in the public trust commit a crime like this is very disheartening. On the other hand, you have the fact that this is somebody who dedicated his life to protecting the public. So was he punished heavier? No. Was he given a break? No.
"We have to treat him as we would anybody else. We have to look at the positives and negatives of that person."