Man Accused of Stealing Excavator, Digging up Grocery Store Parking Lot
- A Utah man has been charged with stealing construction machinery and digging a parking lot.
- He faces felony theft and felony criminal mischief charges.
- The suspect’s motive is unclear.
A man in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been charged with stealing a moving digger from an active construction site and excavating part of a parking lot.
The suspect, Omar Ortega, 46, faces felony larceny and felony criminal mischief charges and has been registered with the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, according to Salt Lake City. prisoner search.
The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a statement Press release Construction workers called authorities around noon Saturday and followed the suspect as he drove the oversized vehicle down the road for nearly a mile. When the suspect took the machine, construction crews apparently had it running.
A standard excavator weighs between 7 and 45 metric tonsthe weight of the stolen machinery is not known.
According to the release, the suspect was found “randomly digging the ground” in the parking lot of the Smiths grocery store at 828 South 900 West. The release added that community members at the grocery store helped prevent the suspect from leaving before police arrived.
“It’s very unusual,” SLCPD spokesman Brent Weisberg told local media KUTV“We were lucky that there was no crash and no one was injured. Someone came to the parking lot and just shook the front loader and a lot of community members called 911 to find out what was going on here.”
Repairing the damage will cost at least $40,500, according to KUTV.
It is unclear what triggered the theft and vandalism.
— Salt Lake City Police (@slcpd) August 6, 2022
The Salt Lake City Police Department declined to provide further details. The Utah attorney general did not immediately respond to an insider request for comment.