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Mark Racop blows dust off car No. 31, which is being prepared for its final prime, at Fiberglass Freaks in Logansport on Friday, May 13, 2022.

Mark Racop’s 1966 Batmobile replicas elicit smiles from residents who see his team test driving them around Logansport. However, Racop’s business has faced an uphill battle since it was raided by a California sheriff’s office in July.

Racop confirmed that on July 19, four members of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office arrived at his business, Fiberglass Freaks, with a warrant. He said they arrested him, left his workshop in disarray and took files with them when they left. The trouble: a business dispute between Racop and one of his customers.

“He ordered a car, he was paying on it fine, we were making progress on it fine, and then he decided for nine months not to make a payment,” Racop said. “He kept demanding to know when his car was going to be completed during that time but would not make a payment. I was forced to reorder the cars and bumped his car to the end of the lineup because he hadn’t paid.”

Racop said the contract he requires buyers to sign clarifies that he can find someone else to purchase the car 15 days after a missed payment. However, Racop has worked out problems with buyers before and wanted to give the buyer in question, Menlo Park real estate agent Sam Anagnostou, a chance to receive his Batmobile.

“He came back onboard, he paid off the car completely, which was not a demand of mine, and he decided he was not happy about (the delay),” Racop said. “From the moment he found out his car had been bumped, he decided that he was furious and there was nothing I could do to appease him from that point on.”

Racop has been building replica Batmobiles since he was a teenager. There was no guide to building the cars in books or on the internet when he was younger, so Racop watched the 1960’s Batman series frame by frame when he was in college to see all the details. He learned how to work with fiberglass along with many other materials so he could build the parts he needed.

It takes a few years and numerous custom parts to build each Batmobile. Fiberglass Freaks is currently the only shop licensed to sell the cars by DC Comics.

Racop said Anagnostou asked for his money back, but Racop was unable to give him a refund due to the amount already spent on parts for the vehicle. He noted that the car body, chassis, engine and transmission are especially expensive and that parts are ordered for multiple cars at once.

“I understand if somebody’s upset about a car being late and would never, ever question them being upset about that,” Racop said. “I would own it and say, ‘Yes, you’re right and we’re doing everything we can to complete your car as quickly as possible.’ But to go to the length that this guy has gone, to bring up criminal charges against me, there’s just no reason for it whatsoever.”

According to ABC7 News, Anagnostou accused Racop of breach of contract and fraud in San Mateo Superior County Court, but the case was dismissed after a judge determined that the charges should be pursued in Indiana.

After the charges were dismissed, Racop alleges that Anagnostou requested help from San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos. That is when the four officers from San Mateo were sent to Indiana to conduct a raid on Fiberglass Freaks.

Now, Racop is being criminally charged with obtaining money by false pretenses and diversion of construction funds and will have to visit a California court in a few weeks to plead not guilty.

“The allegations are completely false, and according to the insiders at the (San Mateo) police department, they were doing this as a favor to Sam, the buyer of the car,” Racop said.

ABC7 News alleges that Bolanos and Anagnostou are friends on Facebook. Bolanos lost the recent San Mateo sheriff primary race to challenger Christina Corpus and will leave office in January.

Racop added that the charges have caused him stress, anxiety, lost sleep and nightmares whenever he is able to sleep. He said his bank account was frozen, which added even more stress to his life and business.

However, Racop’s faith and the kind comments from friends and strangers alike have been uplifting.

“That part has been phenomenal and gives me faith and hope in humanity that maybe we’re going to pull out of this,” he said. “But the court of popular opinion is not the legal court, so who knows.”

Sam Anagnostou and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office did not return the Pharos-Tribune‘s request for comment.

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