By Jim Melwert, Nicole Brewer
WESTVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — The hunt is on for the person who stole a front-end loader and then intentionally crashed it into the side of the Piston Diner in Westville, New Jersey.
This unfolded around midnight Wednesday night. Westville Police Chief Fred Lederer says they a got a call from employees at nearby Sunoco Logistics, who, the chief says, watched this unfold on surveillance camera.
“A front end loader comes up the street, from what we believe is a construction site about a quarter mile from here,” Chief Lederer said. “The vehicle made a loop in the middle of Route 130 and drove into the side of the Piston Diner,” Lederer explained.
No one was hurt, but the chief says shortly after the front-end loader crashed into the diner, a silver SUV pulled up and the person they believe crashed it into the diner, got into that SUV and took off.
Owner Jason Kramer says the operator lifted the front bucket after they crashed though the wall, to do as much damage as possible, but he says he has no idea who could have done this.
“See that’s the thing, we’re good to people, all these construction guys were coming in every morning, so I don’t know who could have done it.”
Kramer says the diner will probably be closed for about a month to make repairs. He became emotional when talking about how this will affect the people who work for him.
“The sad thing today … because you have to hand people their paychecks for the last time today. I won’t be open for another month and a half,” Kramer said.
Chief Lederer says they found mini liquor bottles in the front-end loader, and police are sending those off for fingerprint analysis. He says they’re working to enhance the surveillance video to see if they can get a better description of the vehicle or of the person driving.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call police.