- A Utah man is accused of stealing construction equipment and digging up 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, was charged with stealing a moving excavator from an active construction site and excavating portions of a parking lot.
The 46-year-old suspect, Omar Ortega, is facing felony theft and criminal mischief and has been jailed, according to a Salt Lake find prisoner.
The Salt Lake Police Department said in a: press release that construction workers called authorities around noon on Saturday and followed the suspect as he drove nearly a mile down the road in the oversized vehicle. The construction crew had apparently left the machine running when the suspect took it away.
While the standard excavator weighs between seven and 45 tonsthe weight of the stolen machines is unclear.
The suspect was found “randomly digging up the ground” in a parking lot near Smith’s grocery store at 828 South 900 West, according to the press release. The release added that community members at the supermarket helped stop the suspect before police arrived.
“This was very unusual,” SLCPD spokesman Brent Weisberg told the local outlet KUTV. “We’re lucky there were no crashes, no one was injured. Once the person was in the parking lot and the front loader was swaying a bit, many community members called 911 and wondered what was going on here. “
Repairing the damage will cost at least $40,500, KUTV reported.
It is not clear what caused the theft and destruction.
—Salt Lake City Police (@slcpd) August 6, 2022
Salt Lake City Police declined to provide further details. The Utah Attorney General did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.