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Man Causes Significant Damage After Stealing an Excavator and Driving Nearly 1 Mile

SALT LAKE CITY — Today, officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department arrested a man who stole an excavator from a construction site and drove it nearly a mile to a grocery store parking lot where he started ripping up the ground.

This investigation started just after 12 p.m. on August 6, 2022, when SLC911 received information about a man inside a stolen excavator randomly digging up the ground at 828 South 900 West.

A large crowd at the grocery store helped prevent the suspect from leaving until officers arrived.

Officers safely took the man into custody without further incident.

The suspect caused significant damage to the ground, including hitting a water line and ripping out newly installed fiber optic utility lines.

Crews from Salt Lake City Public Utilities, Salt Lake City Streets, Salt Lake City Fire and Dominion Energy responded to assess the damage and to ensure there was no gas leak.

The full extent of the damage is still being assessed.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported and no crashes occurred while the excavator was being illegally operated.

Based on the preliminary investigation, the excavator had been left running while at a job site at 900 South 300 West. The suspect, for an unknown reason, got inside and then drove away. Crews at the construction site followed the suspect to the grocery store parking lot.

Officers will book the suspect into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on charges of felony theft and felony criminal mischief.

The suspect’s name and age will not be released until the booking process is complete.

A SLCPD PIO responded to the scene and provided media and community members updates.

Several photos and a video have been posted on the SLCPD Twitter page.