SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A man who allegedly stole a $400,000 excavator from a construction site, drove it down city streets, and used it to tear up a Smith’s parking lot in Salt Lake City was booked into jail on Saturday on several charges. 

Omar Ortega, 46, is facing two counts of Criminal Mischief with Loss of Over $5,000, one count of Criminal Mischief with Loss of $500 to $1,500, and one count of Theft Equal To or Exceeding $5,000. 

Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) says the investigation into Ortega began when he allegedly stole an excavator from a construction site located at 300 West 900 South on August 6 just after noon. While leaving the site, police say Ortega destroyed over $500 worth of Killgore Construction property. 

From there, SLCPD records note that Ortega traveled with the excavator from 300 West 900 South to the Smith’s parking lot on 828 South 900 West, “where he dug up the sidewalk and parking lot destroying the gas line, water line, electric line, and an unknown fiber optic cable.” Officers report that Ortega caused $25,000 worth of damage to Smith’s property and $15,000 worth of damage to city property, with the possibility of more to come. 

At this time, SLCPD says that more information will become available as more victims are identified.

Ortega has since been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on the charges previously listed.