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Ex-school trustee ordered to stay away from college campus

May 27, 2009 |  5:00 pm

Rocco Former Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco has been sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to pay a $150 fine and to stay 100 yards from Chapman University for stealing a bottle of ketchup from the campus.

A jury convicted Rocco last month of stealing a half-full, 14-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup in September from an outdoor dining area at the university, in the city of Orange.

Rocco took the stand in his own defense during the two-day trial in April, saying he was set up. Though the plastic ketchup bottle was valued at $1.20, he argued that no theft occurred because it had not been refrigerated, making it worthless.

The eccentric Santa Ana recluse is known for wearing dark glasses and murmuring shadowy conspiracy theories. He won a seat on the school board in 2004 and survived a recall attempt to serve a full four-year term.

He was sentenced Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court.

--Tony Barboza