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County-owned excavator shot over holiday weekend

A county-owned excavator was shot over the holiday weekend between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27.

The excavator sat on the west side of REA Road near Strawberry Avenue, and had last been seen undamaged Nov. 22.

When a crew went to work on the road Monday morning, two shots through the windows of the excavator were discovered. Evidence of ammunition was found on the road as well.

Zach Gunsolley, Union County Engineer, encourages anyone with any information about the event to come forward to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Two windows were broken, one shattered and one with bullet holes in it, and the wires to the boom were damaged, as well as the grease lines.

“This is costing other taxpayers, the whole county’s taxpayers, money and down time,” said Gunsolley.

Moving all equipment back to the county yard costs taxpayers because that includes more mobilization and extra time each day. It is more fiscally responsible to leave equipment at work sites when possible.

In the wake of equipment vandalism, which costs taxpayers to have equipment repaired, Gunsolley has to weigh the options of mobilizing the county equipment to and from the county yard more frequently or risk more vandalism.

“Taxpayers are the first people to tell me they want me to be a good steward of their money. Now, somebody made a decision to create more waste and down time,” Gunsolley said about the vandalism.

Estimated damage to the county excavator was $3,327.14. The cost of the damage is equivalent to the cost of purchasing more than 300 tons of rock for a country road. That estimated damage cost does not include crew down time in assessing the damage, taking pictures and talking to the sheriff’s office.

“This time should have been productive time working on a culvert replacement on REA Road,” said Gunsolley.

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