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Ex-employee smashes company cars with hammer and tries to burn down the building

Latasha Rena Bittle

Karina Mazhukhina

The Charlotte Observer

A 26-year-old former employee with Smithfield Foods is facing a series of charges after she tried to burn down the building and smashed five cars with a hammer, North Carolina police said.

Latasha Rena Bittle threw a plastic jug with accelerants onto the food plant’s break area canopy before fleeing in a burgundy sedan on Oct. 12, according to WNCN.

Bittle became a suspect after she sent an email to Smithfield Corporate officials that morning about an incident she was disgruntled about when she was still employed with the company, WECT reported.

Bittle said she would “burn the plant down and shoot it up” at the time of the altercation, according to WCTI.

On Oct. 13, Bittle was seen smashing five car windows with a hammer in the food plant’s management parking lot, WNCN reported. The same burgundy-colored sedan the sheriff’s office said was spotted leaving the scene a day earlier also was there.

Bittle turned herself in to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office on charges not related to the Smithfield arson, according to WECT. She then confessed to the food plant arson and vandalism during an interview with Bladen County investigators.

Bittle is facing charges of second-degree trespass, damage to an occupied property with an explosive, and five counts of injury to personal property, WCTI reported.

She’s at the Bladen County Detention Center under a $4,000 bond, the outlet said.

©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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