San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies seized 16 firearms allegedly owned by a convicted felon as part of a surprise search on Thursday morning. The search occurred before 8 a.m. at a house at the 500 block of Terrace Avenue in Half Moon Bay.

At least seven Sheriff’s patrol cars surrounded the home to serve a search warrant to 47-year-old John Fotinos. Another team of deputies simultaneously searched a Pacifica storage locker that he was renting out.

Deputies performed the search after receiving a tip that Fotinos had a stockpile of weapons. Fotinos, a former Newark firefighter, was arrested for felony grand theft in 2007 after he sold a friend’s truck and pocketed the money for himself. Earlier this year, he was accused of lying about his income as he went through divorce proceedings with his wife. As a felon, he is prohibited from possessing any firearms.

The two searches turned up nine long-barrel firearms, seven handguns and about 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

Fotinos was arrested at his home and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility.

(6) comments



This guy will now be a threat to the community until at least sometime in July at the earliest thanks to the creators of the greatest judicial system in the free world. Because he made bail (only a day after being arrested), the rules regarding arraignment change and now there is no longer any urgency for him to be arraigned on these felony charges.

OK, help me out here; a convicted felon arrested for felony possession of multiple hand guns, rifles, and assault weapons is released back into the community thanks to a postponed arraignment. Apparently he's viewed as a much greater threat when he's sitting in jail.

Stay tuned! I'll post new information as it becomes available.


Thanks for following up on this George, and SUPER thanks for going to court! Please keep us informed if you can. I live too far now to join you in person, will be moving to the coast in a couple months. Let me/us know who to call or write. Good luck!


After reading this story, I remembered reading a few articles about the original theft involving this former firefighter several years ago. You certainly have to question the character of any man who steals from his own friends but the character of a convicted felon hiding 16 weapons and enough ammunition to start a small war is plain as day. No telling how many more weapon stashes Fotinos still has in places unknown or what his plans are for using them but obviously this felon knows how to get weapons and has no regard for the fact that it is illegal for him to have them. Although the article doesn’t say so, I’d almost bet my life on the fact that at least some of the weapons found were far from street legal.

I have the misfortune of living in the same neighborhood as Fotinos and so was very happy to learn that this guy is now in jail where he belongs; except for the fact that he isn’t. Out of concern over the safety of my family, myself and my law abiding neighbors, I called the correctional facility hoping to find out when Fotinos was scheduled for an appearance in court as I wanted to be in attendance. I was absolutely dumbfounded to discover that Fotinos was already out on bail and most likely back on the streets in Half Moon Bay. I can’t imagine what any court was thinking about in setting bail low enough to allow a convicted felon hiding 16 weapons to walk away from jail so quickly but I assure you that is the question I intend to pose before the court first thing Monday morning which, I learned, is when Fotinos is currently scheduled to appear before a judge. I hope those readers who live in the HMB community and beyond share my outrage over this injustice and will join me in voicing their opinion to the court.


"The two searches turned up nine long-barrel firearms, seven handguns and about 10,000 rounds of ammunition."

"...10,000 rounds of ammunition."? Expecting company, was he? Wow.


Good thing California has laws that prevent felons from obtaining guns. Oh wait, that was the intent and not the result.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

The Good Guys Win!!!

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