Lawsuit claims OPP officer accused ‘retards’ of lawn mower theft

Father had to beg to get own equipment back, says statement of claim

Published On Tue Jun 08 2010

Betsy Powell Courts Bureau

The young men had just finished cutting a client’s lawn and were walking home with their equipment when an OPP car pulled up beside them.

According to a statement of claim filed Monday in Brampton small claims court, that’s when things went wrong.

“Where did you steal that from?” the officer, Pablo Perriera, asked Kyle Scheibe and his assistant, the claims says.

Scheibe, who is 19, told the officer he was running a small landscaping business and that the equipment belonged to his father, Ron Scheibe. He also provided the address of the job he had just completed and showed the officer a flyer as proof of their business.

“I tried to tell him I had all the receipts for everything at my house, I told him it’s just a block away, you can come at anytime and look. He said, ‘No, I’m not going that far,’ ” Scheibe told the Star.

Standing beside him was his assistant, Zarik Furmanov, a 20-year-old with Tourette’s syndrome. “He kept looking at me because he was nervous and he really didn’t know what to say or do,” Scheibe said.

Furmanov’s nose was bleeding — his condition causes him to involuntarily punch himself — but according to the statement of claim the officer implied he had been taking illicit drugs.

Perriera, according to the statement of claim, checked serial numbers before confiscating the lawn mower, weed trimmer, shovel, gas can and screw driver.

While Scheibe walked home, Perriera handcuffed Furmanov, put him into the back of the marked cruiser, and drove to the client’s home where they had just been working. “Officer Perriera knocked on the client’s door, and advised them that the plaintiff had been using stolen property while caring for their lawn,” according to the lawsuit.

Perriera then went to Scheibe’s home, released Furmanov, taunted them and threw the screwdriver on the driveway, stating, “That’s all you get,” the lawsuit says.

After returning to his vehicle, Perriera used the cruiser’s loudspeaker to call the pair “retards” and said “he (officer Perriera) would be using the lawn mower on his own lawn tonight,” the statement says.

“Lots of people on my street heard it,” Kyle Scheibe said. It was around 5 p.m. on May 15, a Saturday.

When Ron Scheibe arrived home, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He went to the Bolton OPP detachment. “I had to beg to get my own equipment back and they still weren’t going to give it back to me,” he said.

The lawsuit seeks $25,000 in damages and names the Ontario Provincial Police and Perriera.

The OPP has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“As this is now before the courts and to respect that process, it would not be appropriate for me to comment,” said Const. Jonathan Beckett, media relations officer with the Caledon OPP detachment.

Later that evening, the lawsuit says, Perriera and several other officers returned to the Scheibe residence and returned the property without asking for any proof of ownership.

When Ron Scheibe went to the detachment a few days later to file a complaint, he was told Perriera had not filed a report.

“If there is no report that it was stolen and the officer just made it all up and (was) simply harassing Kyle for whatever his reasons are, that’s malicious and personal and he’s not even performing any duties,” said Toronto lawyer Simon King, who drafted and filed the statement of claim on behalf of the Scheibes.

“It’s really, in my view, pretty sad that it went that far that Ron is showing up at the police station saying, ‘Listen, this is my stuff, my son was using my stuff.’ ”

The lawsuit says the OPP failed to respond appropriately to inquiries from the legitimate owner of the property.