Updated: June 21, 11:50 a.m.
San Mateo County sheriff's deputies arrested a former Newark firefighter after allegedly uncovering a cache of 16 firearms and 10,000 rounds of live ammunition in a storage area on the man's property, according to the district attorney's office.
John Fotinos, 47, of Half Moon Bay, who was arrested Tuesday, was prohibited from possessing both ammunition and firearms as a result of a 2007 felony conviction for grand theft, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
In that case, Fotinos — a former firefighter with the former Newark Fire Department — told a coworker he would sell a truck on his behalf, Wagstaffe said. Newark's fire services are now provided by the Alameda County Fire Department.
Fotinos allegedly sold the truck and kept the money, telling his coworker he never sold the truck and then allegedly changed his story and told him the vehicle "disintegrated" in the elements near the coast, Wagstaffe said.
Fotinos pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.
The sheriff's office last week acted on a tip that Fotinos was allegedly storing weapons at his Coastside home, according to the district attorney's office.
During a search of the property, investigators uncovered the 16 firearms, most of which were rifles, Wagstaffe said. Two of the weapons were assault rifles.
Fotinos has been charged with 16 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and two counts of being in possession of an assault rifle.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday, and will return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 3.
In a separate case that is due to be tried in August, Fotinos has been charged with perjury and filing a false document.
Fotinos was involved in bitter divorce and custody proceedings with his wife, during which he filed a document stating he was unemployed and without income, Wagstaffe said.
Attorneys for Fotinos' former wife allegedly produced proof that he had been employed by a construction company and was earning a wage, Wagstaffe said. Fotinos remains in custody on $320,000 bail.
- Bay City News