Tesla Resisted Investigation into Massive Copper Thefts over Fear of ‘PR Hit’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the new Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. The new Tesla factory is the former NUMMI plant. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

A new report alleges that staff at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada refused to cooperate with an investigation into massive copper thefts from the factory due to CEO Elon Musk’s worries about a “PR hit.”

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Tesla staff were uncooperative when dealing with deputies from the Story County Sheriff’s Department as law enforcement attempted to investigate reports of stolen copper at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. The Gazette-Journal reports that according to the Sheriff’s Department report from June 12, 2018, security workers refused to cooperate with the investigation due to fear of the company’s CEO Elon Musk who they believed would be angered by negative publicity.

The report corroborates statements from former workers who allege that officials at the factory were indifferent, or hostile, towards any efforts to prevent problems at the Gigafactory if it could possibly result in negative publicity for Tesla. The report was filed by Deputy Brandon Azevedo and states that Tesla’s security refused to share information about a subject during the investigation into a report of copper wire stolen from the factory.

Azevedo wrote in the report: “ … we were advised that this incident had reached Elon Musk himself. In fear of the ‘PR hit’ this incident could make, Tesla advised that they will not release any hard copies,” of information related to the subject. The report also states that Tesla’s security knew electrical contractor and witness to the theft Lynn Thompson was fired after reporting the crime to authorities.

The report states that this isn’t the first time that authorities reported widespread theft at the Gigfactory and saw resistance from company officials during investigations. Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro told the Journal: “Those are the types of things that would make things very difficult for us to investigate. We can’t investigate something on their property if they are not willing to cooperate with us.”

Read the full report in the Reno Gazette-Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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