Former Firefighter Arrested After Cache of Guns Discovered

John Fotinos, a 47-year-old Half Moon Bay man, was arrested after deputies uncovered 16 firearms and 10,000 rounds of live ammunition in a storage unit in Pacifica.

By Chris Cooney
|  Thursday, Jun 21, 2012  |  Updated 1:58 PM PDT
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Cache of Guns Found, Former Firefighter Arrested

John 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.

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San Mateo County sheriff's deputies arrested a Half Moon Bay man after uncovering a cache of 16 firearms and 10,000 rounds of live ammunition in a storage unit in Pacifica, according to the district attorney's office.

John Fotinos, 47, who was arrested Tuesday, was prohibited from possessing both ammunition and firearms because 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 Newark Fire Department -- told a coworker he would sell a truck on his behalf, Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe said Fotinos allegedly sold the truck and kept the money, telling his coworker he never sold the vehicle, and then allegedly changed his story and told him the truck "disintegrated" in the elements near the coast.

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 storing weapons, according to the district attorney's office.

During a search of a Pacifica storage unit, 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. Fotinos remains in custody on $320,000 bail.

In a separate case that is due to be tried in August, Fotinos has been charged with perjury and filing a false document.

Wagstaffe said 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.

Attorneys for Fotinos' estranged wife allegedly produced proof that he had been employed by a construction company and was earning a wage, Wagstaffe said.

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