A photographer with the Reno-Gazette Journal was arrested last week and charged with a felony after police say he and another journalist from the paper were caught trespassing at Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory. And when they were busted, the journalists ran down security employees with their Jeep until the local cops arrested them, police say.

The Reno Gazette-Journal has identified the man behind the wheel of the Jeep as Andy Barron, a photographer at the publication since 1998. They’ve also confirmed via the Storey County Sheriff’s department that Barron has been arrested on a charge of “battery with a deadly weapon.”

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Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro told the RGJ; “He was arrested after an altercation with the security guards when they attempted to detain him for trespassing.”

Tesla’s report details the alleged altercation:

The two RGJ employees and the Tesla employee were then met at the Jeep by a second safety manager at the Gigafactory. The two Gigafactory safety managers asked the RGJ employees to wait before departing, as security management and the Sheriff’s Department were en route to the scene. Disregarding this request, the RGJ employees entered the Jeep.

As the Tesla employee attempted to record the license plate number on the rear bumper, the driver put it in reverse and accelerated into the Tesla employee, knocking him over, causing him to sustain a blow to the left hip, an approximate 2” bleeding laceration to his right forearm, a 3” bleeding laceration to his upper arm, and scrapes on both palms.

Emphasis ours, because that’s pretty crazy. You’d think a veteran newspaper photographer would know better.

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They’re also claiming that the trespasser’s Jeep, which was marked with Reno Gazette-Journal logos, rammed a security employee’s ATV and then rammed the employee himself when he exited the vehicle, “striking him in the waist.”

But security was able to detain the supposed trespassers long enough for the Sheriff’s Department reach the scene, and took them into custody.

Tesla added that trespassing at the Gigafactory—the massive battery plant that remains under construction—has been a continual problem.

We appreciate the interest in the Gigafactory, but the repeated acts of trespassing, including by those working for the RGJ, is illegal, dangerous and needs to stop. In particular, we will not stand for assaults on our employees and are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.