Michael Fidanoglou, a bank robber who opened fire on a client, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and whose name was circulated in the investigation into the murder of criminal defense attorney Frank Shofey, has just won the right to go to the transitional house after he who had spent the last 25 years behind bars.
Posted at 7:00 am
Daniel Renaud LaPresse
Nicknamed Crazy Mike, 59-year-old Fidanoglou was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after being found guilty of 25 counts of robbery, possession of a weapon and attempted murder.
In one of these raids, in April 1998, at a Desjardins cash register branch, Fidanoglou opened fire behind the back of a customer, Claude Mailhot, because the teller had refused to give the bank robber a sum of around $3,000 that Mr Mailhot had just deposited.
Mr Mailhot became a paraplegic after the crime and he sued Desjardins for a civil sum of 6 million.
Police, particularly the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), suspected Fidanologou of being involved in at least three murders, but were never able to prove it.
For a time, Fidanoglou was allegedly involved with another bank robber, Michael Sarandou, and the two men’s names circulated in the investigation into the 1985 murder of criminal defense attorney Frank Shofey, but they were never revealed. Michael Sarandou was declared a dangerous criminal in 2005 and died of natural causes in La Macaza prison in 2019.
Not the same anymore
“You’re not in the same shape you were then and you’ve been working on yourself seriously. They don’t value violence anymore…” write the members of the Parole Board of Canada, who have agreed to send Fidanologlou to a transitional home for an initial six-month trial.
Detained continuously since 1998, this is the first time Fidanologlou, who has taken numerous steps before the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) over the years, has been released.
It should be noted that following his second federal sentence, Fidanologlou had re-offended the day after his statutory release – after serving two-thirds of his sentence – in 1994.
The officials point out in particular that Fidanologlou, who had a difficult childhood, was placed in several nursing homes and youth centers during his youth.
They assess that the offender has made significant progress since the beginning of his long incarceration, that he has successfully completed programs, that he is motivated in a therapeutic process, and that he expresses sincere condolences to the victims to empathize with her and be aware of the difficulties she is still going through today,” the commissioners state.
Since 2014, Fidanoglou has benefited from more than 200 accompanied temporary absences and 13 unaccompanied temporary absences without an incident being reported.
After leaving prison, Fidanologlou wants to re-enter the labor market and is open to all types of employment.
The perpetrator, who according to the commissioners has to rebuild his social network, has no contact with his family and does not know whether his parents are still alive.
The commissioners, who nonetheless remain wary of Fidanologlou, impose conditions on him: not to communicate with any person involved in criminal activity, to disclose all his financial transactions to his probation officer and not to communicate directly or indirectly with Mr. Mailhot and members of his family .
“The Commission felt really and genuinely motivated to go in the right direction. However, she warns that this process will be long-term and that you should not rush things,” the commissioners warn.
To reach Daniel Renaud, dial 514.285-7000, extension 4918, write to [email protected] or write to the La Presse mailing address.