Rocco: The "county" murdered my mother!
Rocco: The "county" murdered my mother!

Steve Rocco Files Ketchup Heist Appeal But Judge Can't Decipher Rambling Document

Former, bizarre Orange Unified School District Board member Steve Rocco, who was sentenced in 2009 to two years of probation for stealing ketchup from a college cafeteria and then unsuccessfully fleeing on a bicycle, apparently wants his conviction overturned.

I say apparently because late last month Rocco filed papers at Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse and it's so difficult to decipher both visually and intellectually that the massive document prompted a judge to rejected it as non-compliant with filing rules for federal lawsuits.

Rocco, who is living in Santa Ana, used a manual typewriter and then submitted barely readable fourth or fifth generation copy machine replicas of his complaints that his conviction was a "miscarriage of justice" and, because of an alleged widespread conspiracy to frame him, he is owed a new trial.

Nick Schou, my Weekly colleague who has covered the Rocco saga for years, is named in the rambling lawsuit for knowing Orange County professor Fred Smoller and a nurse at a hospital that treated the plaintiff's mother years ago.

The lawsuit additionally claims that the hospitalized Mrs. Rocco was "murdered" by "the county" for "political" reasons.

As for his own legal mess, Rocco asserts that bottled ketchup becomes poison when not refrigerated and he thinks he has the evidence of Smoller's evilness, according to the lawsuit.

"Restaurant bottles are a complimentary condiment," Rocco explains in the document. "Everything inside the bottle is free and the bottle is not recyclable. Neither [of the stolen] bottles is stamped CRV (California Redemption Value). Most damning for Smoller . . . [his emphasis] the restaurant bottle is pure red! The store bought bottle is clear!"

Ahhh, so what does all that mean?

He answers in his court filing, "This means that there are at least three witnesses that committed perjury and City of Orange/Officer Cornelius Ungureanu (one-year rookie) followed [me] more than halfway home, into Santa Ana, after the 'dress rehearsal' attempt on Mrs. Rocco's life!"

After that aside, he returned to his ketchup bottle conclusions: "If it was a store bought bottle, then the bottle NEVER [his emphasis] belonged to Chapman University! The DA's DNA crime lab would have known this."

Rocco also isn't happy because he claims Smoller considers him "crazy."

"Mr. Rocco is Mr. Fred Smoller's career," stated Rocco. "There was a premeditated sabotage of the Rocco families [sic] health. To this date, not one media outlet has published that there has been an appeal. Makes you think!"

A representative page from Rocco's federal ketchup heist appeal
A representative page from Rocco's federal ketchup heist appeal

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg told Rocco this week that if he doesn't obey filing rules, his lawsuit will be formally dismissed on Aug. 26.

Go HERE to read Schou's 2009 feature on Rocco.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Email: Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >