Florida Man, 47, Arrested & Charged After Allegedly Using A ‘Hot-Wired’ Excavator To Plow Through A Walmart & Other Buildings

Florida Man, 47, Arrested & Charged After Allegedly Using A ‘Hot-Wired’ Excavator To Plow Through A Walmart & Other Buildings

A Florida man is now facing charges after police allege he used a stolen excavator to plow through a Walmart and other buildings. According to The Gainesville Sun, the man caused more than $2 million in damages to the impacted structures.

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More Details Regarding The Florida Suspect And His Charges

According to the outlet, 47-year-old Jesse Charles Smith was arrested Monday night. Smith reportedly faces grand theft charges, along with charges of “property damage in excess of $1,000.”

Furthermore, Smith has also been charged with four counts of “criminal mischief, armed trespassing, and resisting arrest.”

More Details Regarding The Alleged Incident

According to the outlet, the Gainesville Police Department has alleged that Smith “hot-wired” an excavator that belonged to Watson Construction around 8 p.m. on Monday evening. This reportedly occurred at 2605 SW 47th St., an ongoing construction project site.

The suspect then drove the 72,000-pound excavator a short distance away, breaking through a fence at a nearby Storage Depot.

The Gainesville Sun reports that the man damaged four buildings at the facility. Then, he proceeded to drive through another fence at Swamp City Fitness. There, the suspect allegedly hit a utility pole that held “live wires” and fell to the ground.

Ultimately, the man continued traveling across the space and knocked over a light pole in a Walmart parking lot.

The 47-year-old allegedly ended his “rampage” after crashing into the store’s loading dock.

At the time of his arrest, the man allegedly resisted the responding officers.

GPD officers are currently working an incident at Wal-Mart (2900 SW 42nd Street) where the suspect stole a large excavator, drove it around the southwest (taking out power poles), and then drove through the wall of the Walmart. The suspect is custody. pic.twitter.com/5DY15fQdJZ

— gainesvillepd (@GainesvillePD) September 12, 2023

UPDATE: Officers located another building (storage unit in the area of 2700 SW 40th Blvd) that the suspect also drove through. No injuries reported. pic.twitter.com/AZqh1TmseO

— gainesvillepd (@GainesvillePD) September 12, 2023

According to a Facebook statement shared by the Gainesville Police Department Monday evening, no one was injured during the incident. Additionally, Alachua County jail records indicate that the 47-year-old status has been updated to “FELON – AWAIT TRIAL.”

However, the jail records have not indicated the suspect’s trial date.

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