Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Caught red-handed? OC school trustee Steve Rocco is charged in ketchup theft

September 30, 2008 | 12:50 pm

Who_is_steve_rocco There's nothing ordinary about Steve Rocco's tenure as a trustee on the Orange Unified School District board. Elusive and reclusive, Rocco won his seat against a heavily-favored candidate in 2004 without ever making a single speech.

He dresses in black, always wears shades, and never willingly allows himself to be photographed. And though Rocco's made plenty of news with his various forays into politics, now he's in the headlines for allegedly stealing a bottle of ketchup. Here's the update from his hometown paper, the O.C. Register:

Orange Unified School District trustee Steve Rocco was detained and cited, charged with stealing a bottle of Heinz ketchup from Chapman University's cafeteria.

Sgt. Dan Adams of the Orange Police Department said today that Rocco was detained Saturday by campus public safety officers who said he stole the ketchup at 10:30 a.m.

"One of the security guards saw him take a 14-ounce bottle of ketchup off of one of the tables," Adams said. "He concealed it and started to ride away on a bike."

Rocco, who police called "cooperative," was cited for petty theft and released. He faces a possible $250 fine. He's already on the hook for his share of $37,000 in legal fees racked up when his 2006 lawsuit against the school district was dismissed. (Rocco belittled a school principal during a board meeting, was censured by his fellow board members for doing so, and then sued the board members who censured him.)

Add in his run for Santa Ana City Council, where his platform includes taking on "the Mexican Mafia, their Caucasian Puppetmasters and Judicial Miscreants," and the question of whether or not he's behind the website about the late comedian, Andy Kaufman, and you've got a real American original.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Los Angeles Times