The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office announced has dismissed criminal charges against the owner of an Indiana specialty car shop that sheriff’s deputies raided in July.
District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said Monday his office will drop charges of felony theft by false pretense and felony diversion of construction funds against Mark Racop, 57, after a review of newly acquired information. The charges were related to an alleged contract payment dispute involving Racop’s car shop.
Wagstaffe said in a statement that he determined after the review that the allegations against Racop would be more appropriate for civil court.
“After consideration of all of the facts and circumstances presented to this office, it is my conclusion the evidence does not warrant criminal prosecution,” Wagstaffe said.
Sheriff’s deputies raided Racop’s car shop, Fiberglass Freaks, in mid-July over the alleged dispute between Racop and Bay Area real estate broker Sam Anagnostou, who attempted to purchase a Batmobile replica from Racop that the latter would also construct.
Anagnostou filed a civil lawsuit against Racop in August 2021 claiming a breach of contract over the purchase, claiming construction of the vehicle had extended beyond the contract timeline.
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Nancy Fineman dismissed that lawsuit in March, ruling that the case would be better handled in Indiana, as the vehicle had been exclusively manufactured at Fiberglass Freaks and all witnesses other than Anagnostou are located in Indiana.
Once the civil suit was dismissed, Sheriff Carlos Bolanos allegedly approved the raid as a favor to Anagnostou. San Mateo County officials called for an independent investigation of the saga by the state attorney general’s office, which declined last week to do so.
San Mateo County has also hired an independent investigator to review how the raid was handled.
Racop was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in the felony case. According to Wagstaffe, the court is expected to vacate the arraignment before the end of the week.