Former Mercedes-Benz Employee Steals Caterpillar And Goes On 50-Van Destroying Rampage

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Photo: Periodis Model Motor (Other)

I’m sure we’ve all had jobs that only currently exist in our heads as embarrassingly detailed revenge fantasies, orgies of imagined chaos and destruction. That’s pretty normal, I think, and generally harmless. What’s less normal and harmless is actually acting out these brutal reveries, like a 38-year-old ex-Mercedes employee did in a Basque, Spain-area Mercedes plant.

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Photo: Periodis Model Motor (Other)

Mercedes’ Vitoria factory is their second-largest van factory globally and builds Vito and V-Class vans. The former Auto-Union factory was the site of the (now ex) employee’s December 30 rampage, where he stole a 17-ton Caterpillar wheel-loader being used for infrastructure work at the plant and used it to destroy more than 50 just-built vans being stored in the factory’s parking lot.

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Illustration for article titled Former Mercedes-Benz Employee Steals Caterpillar And Goes On 50-Van Destroying Rampage
Photo: Periodis Model Motor (Other)

The employee then attempted to do some real damage and attempted to drive the loader into the production line itself, which would have caused some catastrophic damage and production delays, but maintenance teams and security guards were able to alert police in time to stop the destruction.

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Photo: Periodis Model Motor (Other)

What’s notable is that at the time of the rampage, the employee was still working for Mercedes, and the whole wild night was seemingly performed in response to rumors about possible mass layoffs.

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I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this isn’t going to help things much.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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DISCUSSION

True story from an ex-boss. He was by far the nicest person I’ve ever had as a boss. Just a wonderful guy. How he moved into management was interesting.

Management at the company was legendarily evil at the time (late 80s). They managed to piss of a worker (Well, the managed to piss of ALL their workers, but this one guy was different). Guy started open carrying a pistol at work. Sharpening knives, having a full gun rack in in the parking lot at work, etc.)

Management skipped laying this particular worker off a couple times since they were frankly scared of what he might do. Then they got a brilliant idea. There was this younger guy that was just too nice to be management material. They would promote him and tell him to fire the psycho while they took the day off to golf.

Ended up backfiring on management. First off, the nutjob didn’t go off (my ex-boss was too nice). Second off, my ex-boss proved to be good at management and got that group functioning and profitable. Investors started wondering why and after a couple years all the evil managers were laid off themselves (ok, moved to early retirement).

Unfortunately, it does seem sometimes that the only way the really nice guys end up in management is through being meat shields. Sometimes literally (like my old boss), sometimes figuratively (let’s put Charlie in charge, that project is doomed.)