'Chop shop' owner jailed for two years

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The operator of a Flamborough chop shop landed in jail last week after pleading guilty to a dozen criminal charges including possession of stolen auto parts, unlicensed firearms and cruelty to animals. Manuel Fagundes, 47, of Safari Road, was sentenced to two years less a day followed by two years of probation with strict conditions.

In return for his guilty plea, charges against his wife, Valentina, were dropped, as well as a string of other charges related to possession of stolen property.

A provincial auto theft task force raided the 150-acre Safari Road farm owned by Fagundes last May. They uncovered what is believed to be one of the largest known chop shops in Ontario. Chop shops are havens for stolen motor vehicles and auto parts.

Besides pleading guilty to stolen property and weapons charges last week, Fagundes admitted guilt for one count of animal cruelty involving goats and chickens on his farm. He was charged by Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) officials for failure to provide suitable and adequate food as well as appropriate veterinary medical attention for his animals. The animal cruelty portion of his sentence is three months.

During his two-year probation that will follow his jail term, Fagundes must abide by a number of conditions, including not having any more than two vehicles or any animals or birds on his property during that time.

While the sentence and probation conditions are viewed as stringent, a resident of the Safari Road community said he and others don't feel the penalty is harsh enough.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the resident said Revenue Canada and the City of Hamilton should be looking into how someone can operate a chop shop and illegal wrecking yard on land that is zoned for agricultural use. He also expressed disappointment that the city appears to be dragging its heels on following through on plans to clean up the property, which continues to be strewn with derelict vehicles, construction debris and other rubbish.

Last month, city council backed a staff recommendation to spend $42,800 to remove the debris. The bill for the cleanup will be added to the property owner's tax bill. Late last week, the Safari Road resident told the Review that the cleanup hasn't been done.

"Why is it taking so long?" he wondered.

There has been action on another front, however. About five farms near the Fagundes property have had their wells tested to determine if their water is contaminated and whether any contamination is linked to the Fagundes farm.

An earlier test of a nearby resident's well showed it contained 5.5 times the amount of lead that is allowable in drinking water. The same well water contains high levels of copper and iron.

Soil tests are also being done on neighbouring properties.

'Chop shop' owner jailed for two years

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The operator of a Flamborough chop shop landed in jail last week after pleading guilty to a dozen criminal charges including possession of stolen auto parts, unlicensed firearms and cruelty to animals. Manuel Fagundes, 47, of Safari Road, was sentenced to two years less a day followed by two years of probation with strict conditions.

In return for his guilty plea, charges against his wife, Valentina, were dropped, as well as a string of other charges related to possession of stolen property.

A provincial auto theft task force raided the 150-acre Safari Road farm owned by Fagundes last May. They uncovered what is believed to be one of the largest known chop shops in Ontario. Chop shops are havens for stolen motor vehicles and auto parts.

Besides pleading guilty to stolen property and weapons charges last week, Fagundes admitted guilt for one count of animal cruelty involving goats and chickens on his farm. He was charged by Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) officials for failure to provide suitable and adequate food as well as appropriate veterinary medical attention for his animals. The animal cruelty portion of his sentence is three months.

During his two-year probation that will follow his jail term, Fagundes must abide by a number of conditions, including not having any more than two vehicles or any animals or birds on his property during that time.

While the sentence and probation conditions are viewed as stringent, a resident of the Safari Road community said he and others don't feel the penalty is harsh enough.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the resident said Revenue Canada and the City of Hamilton should be looking into how someone can operate a chop shop and illegal wrecking yard on land that is zoned for agricultural use. He also expressed disappointment that the city appears to be dragging its heels on following through on plans to clean up the property, which continues to be strewn with derelict vehicles, construction debris and other rubbish.

Last month, city council backed a staff recommendation to spend $42,800 to remove the debris. The bill for the cleanup will be added to the property owner's tax bill. Late last week, the Safari Road resident told the Review that the cleanup hasn't been done.

"Why is it taking so long?" he wondered.

There has been action on another front, however. About five farms near the Fagundes property have had their wells tested to determine if their water is contaminated and whether any contamination is linked to the Fagundes farm.

An earlier test of a nearby resident's well showed it contained 5.5 times the amount of lead that is allowable in drinking water. The same well water contains high levels of copper and iron.

Soil tests are also being done on neighbouring properties.

'Chop shop' owner jailed for two years

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The operator of a Flamborough chop shop landed in jail last week after pleading guilty to a dozen criminal charges including possession of stolen auto parts, unlicensed firearms and cruelty to animals. Manuel Fagundes, 47, of Safari Road, was sentenced to two years less a day followed by two years of probation with strict conditions.

In return for his guilty plea, charges against his wife, Valentina, were dropped, as well as a string of other charges related to possession of stolen property.

A provincial auto theft task force raided the 150-acre Safari Road farm owned by Fagundes last May. They uncovered what is believed to be one of the largest known chop shops in Ontario. Chop shops are havens for stolen motor vehicles and auto parts.

Besides pleading guilty to stolen property and weapons charges last week, Fagundes admitted guilt for one count of animal cruelty involving goats and chickens on his farm. He was charged by Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) officials for failure to provide suitable and adequate food as well as appropriate veterinary medical attention for his animals. The animal cruelty portion of his sentence is three months.

During his two-year probation that will follow his jail term, Fagundes must abide by a number of conditions, including not having any more than two vehicles or any animals or birds on his property during that time.

While the sentence and probation conditions are viewed as stringent, a resident of the Safari Road community said he and others don't feel the penalty is harsh enough.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the resident said Revenue Canada and the City of Hamilton should be looking into how someone can operate a chop shop and illegal wrecking yard on land that is zoned for agricultural use. He also expressed disappointment that the city appears to be dragging its heels on following through on plans to clean up the property, which continues to be strewn with derelict vehicles, construction debris and other rubbish.

Last month, city council backed a staff recommendation to spend $42,800 to remove the debris. The bill for the cleanup will be added to the property owner's tax bill. Late last week, the Safari Road resident told the Review that the cleanup hasn't been done.

"Why is it taking so long?" he wondered.

There has been action on another front, however. About five farms near the Fagundes property have had their wells tested to determine if their water is contaminated and whether any contamination is linked to the Fagundes farm.

An earlier test of a nearby resident's well showed it contained 5.5 times the amount of lead that is allowable in drinking water. The same well water contains high levels of copper and iron.

Soil tests are also being done on neighbouring properties.