VITORIA, Spain—A disgruntled former employee of a Mercedes-Benz plant here reportedly stole a Caterpillar front-end loader from a construction site on New Year's Eve, drove it to the plant and rammed through the property gate before destroying nearly 70 vehicles. Police claim the 38-year-old man was trying to get inside the assembly line area, where he could have caused far more damage.
Luckily, the only employees at the plant were part of the maintenance and security teams, and production wasn't underway. Had he broken into the plant itself, he could have damaged just-assembled Mercedes-Benz V-Class vans.
The man briefly worked for the plant several years ago, and apparently, he didn't end his tenure on good terms. Initial damage estimates are at $6 million.
According to one police report: "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."
Various new sources say that a guard had to fire a warning shot before taking him into custody. The incident is still being investigated by police.