Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2023. 3:26 pm CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: A Ladyville-based mechanic has been criminally charged following an alleged joyride that resulted in substantial damage to a teacher’s vehicle. Shawn Cook, a 32-year-old fisherman and mechanic, appeared unrepresented in court on Monday, charged with damage to property.
Freeman Gongora, a teacher from Belize City, took his 2006 silver Saturn SUV to the mechanic shop where Cook works. When he picked up the vehicle from the mechanic, Gongora discovered extensive damages to the front passenger side tire, rear bumper, rear door, driver’s side rear panel, driver’s side taillight, and rear glass.
Appearing before Magistrate Brown, Cook pleaded guilty to damaging the vehicle but denied taking it without permission. Cook, who was appearing for his first conviction, asked the Magistrate for leniency and requested a fine as his punishment.
The court handed down a non-custodial sentence, fining Cook $500, plus cost of court charges of $55. The magistrate granted Cook until September 30, 2023, to pay the fine, and in default a three-month jail sentence.
The incident reportedly took place on Saturday, June 24, 2023. Another mechanic who works at the same shop, sent Gongora a text message informing him that the vehicle had been taken without his permission and later returned damaged. Gongora, who had left the car at the shop for repairs the previous day, claims the car was in good working condition at that time.
Upon inspection the next day, Gongora confirmed the extensive damages to his vehicle and subsequently reported the incident to the Ladyville Police Station, resulting in Cook’s arrest and charges.
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