A Batmobile and a Favor: The Bizarre Scandal Rocking San Mateo County

The public is demanding answers after San Mateo’s sheriff ordered a raid on a custom car-making facility in Indiana in what appears to be a favor for a personal friend.

It all started back in 2017 when Atherton, California resident Sam Anagnostou ordered a custom 1966 Batmobile for $210,000 from Fiberglass Freaks in Logansport, Indiana. Fiberglass Freaks is the only company that manufactures custom-made Batmobile replicas licensed by DC Comics. And this was going to be a cool one, equipped with a flamethrower and everything.

Fiberglass Freaks owner Mark Racop, who also works as a local minister, told the Pharos-Tribune in Logansport that Anagnostou “decided for nine months not to make a payment,” despite the terms of their contract.

“He kept demanding to know when his car was going to be completed during that time but would not make a payment,” Racop said.

Anagnostou blamed Fiberglass Freaks for not furnishing a product. He filed a lawsuit against Racop San Mateo County in 2021, claiming other orders had been placed ahead of his. That suit was tossed out because the judge said it needed to be filed in Indiana, not in San Mateo where Anagnostou lives.

Undeterred, Anagnostou sought help from a friend — San Mateo Sheriff Carlos Bolanos — according to KGO, which first reported the story. Bolanos sent four members of the sheriff’s office out to Indiana on July 19. They used public money to fund the trip, which included four round-trip airline tickets, three-night hotel stays, meals, and overtime. When they got there, they allegedly raided Fiberglass Freaks' offices, took Racop into a local jail, and froze his bank assets.

It didn’t stop there. Racop was slapped with charges of felony fraud and misuse of funds by San Mateo’s District Attorney. He is scheduled for arraignment in California on Aug. 19.

If you’re shaking your head, you’re not alone. Logansport is 2,200 miles away from San Mateo, well out of SMSO’s jurisdiction. And this appears to be a civil matter, not a criminal one.

"I just can't imagine why it's in criminal court. It shocks me that it's in criminal court,” Tony Brass, former prosecutor for San Francisco and the US Attorney's Office, told KGO. 

"It simply defies reason, in my view, why so many people, so many high-ranking members of law enforcement, would have to go and enforce something so unnecessary? And so trivial?"

At a Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday, residents demanded action. San Mateo County’s executive has already reached out to the sheriff's office and the DA for an explanation.

Wherever this goes, Bolanos won't face political ramifications. He was already booted from office in the June 7 primary by Christina Corpus. Her campaign slogan now seems especially apt: “A Sheriff We Can Trust.”



Wednesday, October 4, 2023 - 10:27

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