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Sheriff’s office: Former worker tried to set fire at plant

October 19, 2021 GMT

TAR HEEL, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman is facing attempted arson charges after authorities said she tried to set fire to a break area at a Smithfield Foods plant and used a hammer to vandalize five cars belonging to management.

The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office said a former Smithfield employee threw a plastic jug filled with an accelerant onto a canopy in the break area of the plant in Tar Heel on Oct. 12, then fled in a burgundy sedan, news outlets reported. Witnesses identified her as Latasha Bittle and deputies said earlier that day Bittle emailed Smithfield corporate officials about an incident that happened when she worked at the plant.

Two days later a woman broke the windows of five vehicles in the management parking lot with a hammer and was heard saying she would “burn the plant down and shoot it up” before fleeing in the same sedan, deputies said.

After Bittle turned herself in on an unrelated charge in a neighboring county, she confessed to the attempted arson and vandalism in an interview with Bladen County deputies, authorities said. A person who answered the phone at Bittle’s attorney’s office said there’s no comment at this time.