An apparently (very) disgruntled former employee of a Mercedes plant in Vitoria, Spain reportedly stole a Caterpillar front-end loader from a construction site, drove it 18 miles to the plant at 1 in the morning, and rammed through the gate. He destroyed a total of 50 or 69 vehicles, mostly new Mercedes vans, depending on the news account. A guard had to fire a warning shot before taking him into custody.
According to the Daily Mail, the 38-year-old man, possibly over-celebrating the new year Thursday evening, worked for the plant briefly several years ago and obviously holds a grudge. Damage was initially estimated to be as high as $6 million.
A police report said, “During the journey between the two sites, he caused other damage,” apparently in part to other Mercedes products. “Police arrived at the scene of the damage to find the man at the wheel of the [Caterpillar] smashing into the parked vehicles. He was held on suspicion of causing criminal damage.”
Police said it appeared he was trying to get inside the assembly line area, where he could have caused far more damage, effectively shutting down production, possibly on the new electric van Mercedes is building.
The stolen Caterpillar loader.
The front loader was a Caterpillar 938M, described as a “small-wheel loader” by the company. Horsepower is 188, operating weight is 35,778 pounds. It “sets the standard for productivity, fuel efficiency and operator comfort,” the company claims.
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