Mechanic, two others remanded on stolen car parts charges

The owner of a mechanic shop charged with receiving stolen car parts and the two men who allegedly sold them to him were all remanded to prison yesterday.

The parts at the centre of the charge belonged to a car stolen during the hold up of an East Coast Demerara auto dealer earlier in the month.

Adrian De Souza, 40, of Lot 35 Campbell Avenue, was not required to plead to the charge of receiving stolen property when he was arraigned at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

The charge read by Magistrate Judy Latchman stated that between November 15 and November 27, he received a car engine, valued $800,000, a transmission, valued $200,000 and a computer box, valued $200,000, knowing the items to have been stolen. The items, which amount to a total value of $1,200,000, are the property of Rubina Khan.

Prosecutor Vishnu Hunt told the court that Khan, who owns an auto dealership at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, was robbed by two men on November 15. The two men went into Khan’s business place and pretended to be customers before tying up a clerk working at the store and leaving with two cars. Subsequently, one of the vehicles was found abandoned at the Railway Embankment, while the other one was stripped and the parts were sold to De Souza.

Attorney Jerome Khan, who represented De Souza, said his client is a reputable businessman and has been a mechanic for 20 years. He added that it is the norm for persons to take vehicle parts to De Souza to get their vehicles fixed and in this case Khan said that it was someone whom De Souza knows that gave the parts to him.

“He was awakened at 11pm one night by police officers who informed him that they were looking for stolen car parts. He co-operated with the police,” Khan said.

Khan added that De Souza did not pose a flight risk and he asked that reasonable bail be granted.

Hunt objected to bail, citing the large sum of money involved and he added that he felt that De Souza would not return to court if granted bail while expressing his concerns about the continuation of the matter if De Souza was granted his pre-trial liberty.

Khan then argued that De Souza’s shop is currently closed pending the outcome of the matter and expressed his concern for the well-being of his client’s family. He noted that De Souza is married and a father of two children. He said that the person who brought the parts should be charged instead of his client.

However, he failed to sway Magistrate Latchman, who remanded De Souza until December 5.

Meanwhile, the two men who allegedly received the stolen car, stripped the parts and sold them to De Souza were also charged with receiving stolen property.

Randy Paul Garret, 19, of Lot 298 Nutmeg Street and Ryan Jones, 21, of 14 ‘C’ New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop, were not required to the indictable charge which stated that between November 15 and November 27, at South Ruimveldt, they received a car, valued $3,300,000, knowing it to have been stolen.

Hunt said that the pair received the car, stripped its parts and sold them to De Souza. He objected to bail being granted to Jones, stating that he is presently on bail after being charged in relation to the 2011 $7.2M Bel Air robbery and for which he and his co-accused are on trial. He was also not in favour of Garret being granted his pre-trial liberty, citing the amount of money involved and the penalty attached to the offence.

Attorney Paul Fung-A-Fat, who represented Garret and Jones, said that Garret, who worked at the Buy Me Auto Sales, was just told to strip the car of its parts and that is what he did. He added that Garret had no idea that the car was stolen.

Jones, Fung-A-Fat added, was just asked to collect the car and take it to South Ruimveldt and he too had no idea that the car was stolen.

Fung-A-Fat conceded that Jones was indeed was placed on bail in relation to the Bel Air robbery but added that he has been out on bail since August, 2011 and has not been in any trouble with the law since.

He made an application for reasonable to be granted to both, however, he too failed to convince Magistrate Latchman, who remanded the pair until December 5 as well.

Hunt also made an application for the parts, presently at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters, to be photographed and returned to Khan. The application was granted by Magistrate Latchman.

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