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Hawthorne mayor charged with stealing commercial food mixer

Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi, who has led the city for nearly two decades, was charged Tuesday with stealing a commercial food mixer from the local school district because he allegedly needed more dough for his home pizza oven.

Guidi, 52, a facilities and warehouse operations director for the Hawthorne School District, allegedly took the food mixer and a cart in March from a district warehouse, prosecutors said.

The alleged theft of the mixer — worth $500 to $1,000 — was captured on a video security camera, said David Demerjian, head deputy district attorney for the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

“He needed the industrial-strength mixer for his pizza oven in his backyard,” Demerjian said.

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The prosecutor said school officials became suspicious that the mixer was going to be taken after someone covered it up.

Demerjian said what Guidi did not know was a security camera captured him taking the bulky item along with its stand. According to prosecutors, Guidi was so proud of his pizza oven he even had images of it on Facebook.

The mayor of 17 years was charged with felony second-degree burglary and grand theft, Demerjian said. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison. A conviction on a felony charge would make him ineligible for office.

Guidi did not return telephone calls for comment.

Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $20,000. Guidi is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in a downtown Los Angeles court. He was placed on leave last month by the school district, which he has worked for since 2000.

Guidi, an outspoken politician not afraid of criticism, has been a fixture in Hawthorne politics for 19 years, so much so that even the local skateboard park is named after him. He is the second member of the council to be charged by prosecutors in recent years.

Three years ago, then-Councilman Ludwig “Louis” Velez, a Guidi ally, pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the state’s conflict-of-interest law after voting to approve a deal with a developer who also was his landlord.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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