Man nabs digger to cause £33k worth of damage with massive hole at supermarket

A man has been arrested after stealing a digger from a construction site and using it to rip up a supermarket car park.

Omar Ortega, 46, was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, Utah after tearing through water pipes and fibre optic cables last Saturday (August 6).

He faces charges of felony theft and felony criminal mischief. His motives remain unclear.

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Ortega managed to nab the digger from a construction site roughly one mile from the supermarket as it had been left running by workers, according to police.

Panicked builders chased him and watched as he was "randomly digging up the ground" before calling 911.

A crowd of witnesses then kept him there until authorities arrived to make the arrest.

Footage shared by Salt Lake Police shows a huge trench where Ortega dug down into the Smith grocery store carpark, causing an estimated $40,000 (£32,960) worth of damage in the process.

Police were still working to find out the full extent of the damage when that estimate was given.

He dug so far that utility works were called in to check he hadn't caused a gas leak, which luckily he hadn't.

A statement from the police suggested that no one reported the incident until after Ortega started digging the carpark up, rather than when he first stole the machine.

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It also said that there were no injuries or deaths as a result of the incident.

Ortega has previously been charged with operating a vehicle without an insurance, failing to obey traffic control devices and failure to register or expired vehicle registration.

His bail was set at $1,000 (£824).


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