Seven Toyota cars were damaged at Chicago Auto Show
21 Février 2011
Three men have been arrested for causing $30,000 in damage to seven Toyota vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today. The men told police they were angry about American jobs being sent abroad, the newspaper said. Each was charged with one crime count of criminal damage to property.
The three slashed seats and tore up interiors of a RAV4, a Prius, a Land Cruiser, two Tundras and a Lexus ES 350. Police caught the men Wednesday night as they used razor knives and flathead screwdrivers to damage the dash and side speaker panels of a Toyota Camry, police said.
Not all the vehicles vandalized were built abroad. While the Prius, the Lexus and the Land Cruiser are made in Japan, the other targeted cars were built in North America. Toyota builds the RAV4 in Woodstock, Ontario. The Tundra is built in San Antonio and the Camry is built in Georgetown, Ky.
"These gentlemen apparently didn't do their research before they decided to destroy American-made vehicles," Toyota spokesman Curt McAllister said. "Some stereotypes die hard."
McAllister said a Toyota product specialist noticed a couple of cars had been damaged and alerted McCormick Place security. Within the hour, they caught the men, who had returned to damage more cars.
The vandalized vehicles were removed and replaced Thursday morning. The incident will not change Toyota's policy about keeping cars open at the auto shows, McAllister said.
"Every automaker goes through a small degree of vandalism on the auto show circuit, whether it's stolen badging or people taking radio knobs," he said. "But we have never seen, at least in one full swoop, this kind of premeditated damage."
The suspects are expected to appear in bond court on Friday.