Salvage business questions city's enforcement methods
LONDON, ONT. -- The city’s bylaw department charged five local salvage yards in an enforcement project last month, but at least one business owner is calling into question the methods of enforcement.
Charlie Gelinas, who runs Specialized Recycling on Horton Street East, describes security video of what he would later find out is a city bylaw officer dressed as a homeless person, selling him materials.
“It was not suspicious. It was a rusted out fluorescent... It looked like the kind of material that the city would leave behind on garbage day and refuse to collect.”
He says the man provided a name and address, and walked away with five dollars.
The name would turn out to be false, and a few weeks later he was charged with accepting scrap metal without verifying identification.
“The man flat-out lied. Were it not for his dishonesty we wouldn't be speaking because there would be no offence. It was completely created by the dishonesty of the bylaw officer.”
The company was one of five salvage yards charged in an enforcement project.
The other charges included failure to keep transaction records and operating without a business licence.
In response to Gelinas' accusations, city bylaw manager Orest Katolyk told CTV News operational matters are not discussed publicly, and evidence is not discussed in the media.
But he also said the theft of scrap metal for quick cash is a real problem.
“Our concern is the rise in theft of valued metals such as copper. Catalytic converters specifically because of their value, and how quickly they're being sold at salvage yards with no questions asked.”
This past December the London Police Service issued a warning about catalytic converters being stolen from parked cars.
In many cases this was happening in parking lots in the downtown core, says Const. Sandasha Bough.
“The London Police Service does see the increase in copper theft as well as catalytic converter thefts on occasion, so it is really important for businesses to keep track of who their purchasing these items from.”
As for Gelinas, he doesn't believe he's the one in the wrong in this case, and he's preparing for a fight.
“We look forward to contesting the matter in court.”