California Cops Apparently Used to Settle Batmobile Business Dispute
This is a weird one. And a bit confusing. Stay with us as we try to explain.
ABC7 in the San Francisco area has quite the story.
It involves a Batmobile replica, law enforcement, and cross-country travel. Oh, and taxpayer dollars.
Here's what happened: California real-estate agent Sam Anagnostou ordered a replica of the Batmobile -- the version used in the original TV series -- from Fiberglass Freaks in Logansport, Indiana. Fiberglass Freaks is the only shop licensed by DC Comics to make these replicas -- which, by the way, appear to be street-legal and come with a working flamethrower. Anagnostou's ride would cost $210,000.
Shop owner Mark Racop says that Anagnostou's car would have been the first in a production line of nine, but Racop says Anagnostou missed a $20,00 payment and "disappeared" for eight or nine months.
Racop moved Anagnostou's order to the bottom of the list, pushing delivery back a year and a half, maybe two years. Racop says Anagnostou exploded at this.
Anagnostou filed a complaint with the Atherton police in San Mateo County, California, but the district attorney declined to bring charges. He also filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud in San Mateo county, but a judge dismissed it, saying Indiana was the proper venue.
It's alleged that at that point, Anagnostou reached out to a Facebook friend of his, Carlos Bolanos, who is the San Mateo county sheriff. Bolanos in turn sent a lieutenant, sergeant, and two deputies to Indiana, where on July 19 they raided Fiberglass Freaks and took two sets of documents.
Racop was read his Miranda rights and taken to the local jail, he was released after an hour but police had a warrant for his email account and contacts and they froze his bank account. He was charged in California with two felonies: Obtaining money by false pretenses and diversion of construction funds.
The San Mateo DA, who once wrote a letter to Racop saying he wouldn't be charged, now claims there is additional evidence against Racop, but she wouldn't tell local news what it is.
Anagnostou avoided commenting when reached by ABC7 and Bolanis is apparently on a month-long vacation.
We're no legal experts, but this appears to be the kind of business dispute that would be settled, probably as a civil matter, in the area where the business is located. Not the kind of case that would require cops to fly halfway across the country and spend money on airfare, hotels, and meals.
Maybe the lawyers among you can sound off below.
[Video courtesy of ABC7 Bay Area]
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