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Garage owner charged with fraud after allegedly gutting, refusing to return classic cars

garage owner charged with fraud after allegedly gutting refusing to return classic cars

The owner of a specialty autobody shop in Elmsdale, N.S., who has faced several previous accusations of unfair dealing and small claims court cases, is facing criminal charges.

Nova Scotia RMCP say that Curtis MacLean, owner of Curtis Customs Radical Garage, was charged Nov. 1 with fraud over $5,000. If convicted, he could face up to 14 years in prison. 

MacLean did not respond to a request for comment.

He briefly appeared in provincial court in Shubenacadie on Monday but the case was adjourned until Jan. 15. 

‘Justice will be served’

Joe Swinimer is an avid car enthusiast who — along with several others in the province — said they saw their beloved vehicles gutted and held indefinitely by MacLean’s garage. Some of those unhappy customers have sued in small claims court and won.

Swinimer said the criminal charge brings a degree of closure, though it’s been a long time coming.

“At this point, we can just hope justice will be served eventually,” said Swinimer. “It’s been 12 years.”

He had a vehicle in MacLean’s care for a little over a decade, and said a year or so ago he saw it in the shop’s lot, after being told by MacLean the vehicle was no longer in his possession.

Swinimer called the Nova Scotia RCMP, who launched an investigation. The charge was laid about a year later.

“People that do know me, they know I don’t give up,” said Swinimer. “I made the promise to Curtis Customs and Curtis MacLean, the day that we found our car that had been missing… it didn’t matter if it was two years, 10 years, 20 years — we will have them held accountable.”

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