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Thousands of dollars in vandalism damage raises safety concerns for construction equipment operators

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jul 05, 2024

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage at a Meridian neighborhood under construction is causing major monetary and safety risks to companies and operators.

  • Construction vehicles at sites across the city have had windows shattered in a vandalism spree.
  • One mini excavator at a site in Meridian has likely been totaled due to the damage.

"Just glass was over $25,000," CWE Acquistions equipment operator Doug Sturgis says of vandalism damage to their equipment.

That glass, left behind after a late-night vandalism spree in northwest Meridian, still scattered across the ground and machinery is just the tip of the mischief iceberg

Machinery from four contractors have extensive damage to windows and electronics from rocks, still in the piles of glass, being thrown through the windows.

One mini excavator likely totaled.

"They broke all the windows out of it," Sturgis explains, "they folded the engine bay door back, they busted out the fuse panels, all the instrument for engine, idle and stuff like that, it's horrible.

Doug tells me some of this machinery nears half a million dollars when new. He says the GPS panel alone broken at a nearby work site will cost around $50,000 to replace. But the monetary damage is nothing compared to the safety of operators in equipment with windows wiped out.

"This is actually working speed and then imagine being a guy 17 feet down in a hole, trying to relay information back up to me," Sturgis describes of the running engine noise.

Enclosed cockpits don't just protect the operators' hearing. Major physical injuries could happen with engine heat and high-pressure line running just on the other side of the window.

"Some of these have over 4,000 PSI in them, that's enough to cut your hand off. If that breaks that covers you in 1,500º hydraulic oil, hot, hot stuff. There's so many safety issues with these windows being busted out and these kids not caring," Sturgis concluded.