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Three men arrested for Chicago Auto Show vandalism

Three men from the Chicago area have been arrested in connection with over $30,000 worth of vandalism damage done to a variety of Toyota products at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

The three men who are 20, 21, and 28 years old, used screwdrivers and “razor knives” (boxcutters?) to destroy the seats, windshields, exterior lights and speaker grilles on seven vehicles being displayed by Toyota and Lexus at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. The men were arrested around 9:45pm Wednesday night – just before the show closed for the evening – when they were caught by the crack security staff of McCormick Place while they were in the act of “giving the business” to a new Toyota Prius. Once they were detained while waiting for real police to arrive, the security staff found damage to other vehicles in Toyota’s area which was confirmed via video surveillance to have been caused by the three men, then in custody. In total, 7 vehicles were damaged including a Toyota Camry, a Lexus ES350, a Toyota RAV4, a Toyota Land Cruiser, a Toyota Prius, and a pair of Toyota Tundra pickups.

No names have been given yet and there has been no “reason” issued as to why the three chose to damage the vehicles but given Toyota’s reputation lately, it is not entirely surprising that someone lashed out against the automaker. While this could just be a childish case of vandalism, it could also be an instance of “Buy American” gone too far or it could be related to the company’s 2-year long fiasco over the negligent recall practices. You would have to think that any automaker who sells vehicles that are known to have a flaw that costs people their lives may have made a few enemies along the way but for the time being, we don’t know why these guys decided to trash the Toyota vehicles.

The three men are being held with pending felony charges for their actions at the Chicago Auto Show. While it is very hard to feel bad for Toyota considering what they have done over the past decade in ignoring recall issues, actions like this one don’t hurt the automaker – they hurt the people attending the show. When I was younger, I recall that you could climb in and out of a great many more vehicles on public days where now, many more-expensive vehicles are locked up and the highest-end vehicles are barricaded off altogether. A few years ago at the Detroit Auto Show, vandals slashed seats in a huge number of vehicles during the public days – spurring automakers to be more selective about how much access the public gets to the cars at the show.

Source: Chicago Breaking News