SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — A Superior Court judge issued a $100,000 bench warrant on Thursday for former San Francisco mayoral candidate and homeless taxi driver Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, who failed to appear in court to enter a plea on allegations that he played his guitar in the nude on top of his van outside the San Mateo County Event Center.

But Kaplan, it turns out, had a decent excuse for missing his court hearing: The 37-year-old was already in the slammer in San Francisco, serving a nine-month sentence on charges of battery and false imprisonment of a passenger, according to a deputy in the San Francisco County jail.

Kaplan — who was also recently convicted by a jury in San Francisco of driving his taxi without a taxicab medallion and without a public-passenger vehicle permit, according to a spokeswoman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office — does not have a criminal record in San Mateo County, records show.

The alleged naked guitar strumming — which prompted a misdemeanor public nuisance charge — was the county's first "contact" with Kaplan, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The incident occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Oct. 21 — the day of the San Mateo County Democratic Presidential Straw Poll.

"Apparently, he was on top of his van naked for about 10 or 15 minutes," Deputy District Attorney Morley Pitt previously told the Times.


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"He told the police that he was from San Francisco and that he was extremely hot and he just got naked.

"He said that type of action is encouraged in San Francisco," Pitt added.

County prosecutors will seek a court order to transfer the erstwhile candidate/cabbie to San Mateo County for court proceedings, Wagstaffe said. Then he will return to San Francisco to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Meanwhile, Kaplan's $100,000 bench warrant will be recalled, Wagstaffe said.

Kaplan is facing a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Staff writer Michael Manekin can be reached at 650-348-4331 or by e-mail at mmanekin@bayareanewsgroup.com.