- REUTERS/James Glover II
Two employees of the Reno Gazette-Journal were arrested around noon on Friday after they struck two Tesla security personnel with a car at the company’s Reno, Nevada, Gigafactory, according to the company.
A blog post on the Tesla website says two individuals who were carrying RGJ employee IDs and driving a Jeep bearing the newspaper’s logo were caught taking photos while trespassing.
According to a story in the Reno Gazette-Journal, one of the newspaper’s employees involved in the incident has been identified as Andy Barron, a photographer who has been with the company since 1998.
When confronted by Tesla’s security staff, the RGJ employees refused to identify themselves and attempted to flee when they were notified that law enforcement had been dispatched, the blog post stated.
According to the Tesla blog, the RGJ employees hit a Tesla staff member who was attempting to take a photo of the Jeep’s rear license plate. That caused their employee to suffer multiple bleeding lacerations to his arms, Tesla said. The Jeep then hit an ATV carrying two other Tesla employees.
According to Tesla, when one of the individuals dismounted the ATV, the Jeep accelerated into the employee – striking him in the waist.
The Jeep’s driver’s-side window had been smashed in by a rock, and the driver’s seat belt had been cut, the RGJ reported.
According to Tesla, the local sheriff’s department arrested one RGJ employee on two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon. Both RGJ employees will be charged with trespassing.
“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,” Tesla said in a statement.
“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.”
Business Insider reached out to the Reno Gazette-Journal’s editor regarding Tesla’s blog post, but she did not have an immediate comment.
The RGJ’s publisher, John Maher, said in a statement printed by the newspaper that he was taking the incident seriously.
Mayer said the incident situation was under investigation.
Here’s Tesla’s complete blog post:
Last Friday at approximately 11:50 am, a Tesla safety manager received a complaint about two trespassers taking pictures at the Gigafactory. The Tesla employee requested assistance and the Storey County Sheriff’s department was alerted.
After locating the two trespassers, the Tesla employee approached them. He asked their names and notified them that they were trespassing on Tesla property. They refused to provide their names, despite the Reno Gazette Journal (“RGJ”) ID credentials hanging from their pockets. They also denied that they were trespassing even though they had climbed through a fence designated with “private property” signs.
The vehicle belonging to the two trespassers was a Jeep marked with RGJ decals on both doors. The two individuals were later identified as RGJ employees.
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.
As the RGJ employees fled the scene, their Jeep struck the ATV that carried the two safety managers. When one of the safety managers dismounted the ATV and approached the Jeep, the driver of the Jeep accelerated into him, striking him in the waist.
Once the Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene, they arrested one of the RGJ employees for two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon and advised that both will be charged with trespassing.
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.