September 25, 2022

  • A Utah man is accused of stealing construction equipment and digging up a parking lot.
  • He faces charges of felony theft and misdemeanor battery.
  • The suspect’s motive is unclear.

A Salt Lake City, Utah, man has been charged with stealing an excavator from an active construction site and digging up parts of a parking lot.

The 46-year-old suspect, Omar Ortega, faces charges of felony theft and criminal mischief and is being held at the Salt Lake Metro Jail, according to Salt Lake. searching for prisoners.

The Salt Lake Police Department told a Press release that builders called authorities around noon 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.

While the standard excavator weighs between seven and 45 metric tonsthe weight of the stolen machinery is unclear.

The suspect was found “randomly digging in the ground” in a parking lot at the Smith’s grocery store at 828 South 900 West, according to the news release. The release added that members of the community at the grocery store helped stop the suspect from leaving before police arrived.

“This was very unusual,” SLCPD spokesman Brent Weisberg told the local network KUTV. “We’re fortunate there were no accidents, no one was hurt. Once the person got to the parking lot and was just turning the front loader, several members of the community called 911 wondering what was going on here.”

The damage will cost at least $40,500 to repair, KUTV reported.

It is unclear what sparked the theft and destruction.

The Salt Lake City Police Department declined to provide additional details. The Utah Attorney General did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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