Vandals damage construction equipment

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Two weeks ago a construction company had their equipment broken into and used to puncture a gas line in Maumelle. This week, Wayne Holden Construction is the latest victim of vandalized equipment. It happened at a site in Oak Grove.

One of the excavators is a loss. To buy a new one, that's upwards of $250,000. But, just take a look at what someone had to go through to even get to it.

Turn the corner at MacArthur Drive and Oak Grove and you are in for a ride, but most cars don't have a chance on the rough muddy terrain.

Wayne Holden Construction is working on a pipeline project running through the woods to I-40, about a 2 miles stretch. An employee shows Channel Seven, "They pushed right here down the side with a dozer."

When the construction crew arrived Monday, this is what they found. They say a bulldozer was used to damage the bottom of the machine and a second excavator was used to destroy the cabin. However, they're relieved a pipe full of gas was not dug up.

John Stafford is the investigator on the case. He is with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office. He says, "I have worked as a mechanic and the damage was more extensive than I have ever seen. The cab was completely ripped out by the mounts, the top of the head to the engine was also damaged the turbo and so forth."

The suspects used a universal key because not one of the three pieces of equipment (two excavators and one bulldozer) had forced entry.

Stafford adds, "If any of the dirt contractors in the area are missing some keys or had some come up missing and reappear, I'd like to talk to them."

The damage is done; vandals face a first degree criminal mischief charge. "They think they're having fun, but they're putting working families out of business because it's going to slow them way down."

Investigators want to talk to two men who have driven back there before and were told not to return. They are described as being in their teens to early 20's, in a light blue 90's Tahoe, likely from the Marsha area.

Stafford says the damage to the excavator is estimated at $160,000. Anyone with information is asked to call 501-340-6940 or the Central Arkansas CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 501-340-TIPS (8477).