Derick Ion Almena -- the guy who ran the Oakland art commune that went up in flames -- has a rap sheet, and not just in the Bay Area ... TMZ has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell us ... Almena was pulled over in L.A. County for having expired tags in March 2015, and while searching his car cops discovered he had 2 stolen license plates from vehicles registered in Oakland. We're told he was arrested and booked for petty theft.
Almena was never charged though -- the D.A. declined to prosecute.
As we reported ... he was also facing a stolen property case in Alameda County, and is currently on probation for that one.