Tesla: Trespassing journalist assaulted Gigafactory worker

Tesla's Model X is the new king of crossover SUV's
Tesla's Model X is the new king of crossover SUV's

When it comes to Tesla Motor's Gigafactory, private property means private property.

Tesla said in a blog post that two staffers with the Reno Gazette Journal newspaper were found trespassing at the company's massive battery factory in Nevada on October 9.

According to Tesla (TSLA), the two people had climbed through a fence displaying "private property" signs, and when confronted by security, attempted to drive away in a car.

"As the Tesla employee attempted to record the license plate number on the rear bumper, the driver put it in reverse and accelerated into the Tesla employee, knocking him over, causing him to sustain a blow to the left hip, an approximate 2" bleeding laceration to his right forearm, a 3" bleeding laceration to his upper arm, and scrapes on both palms," Tesla said this week.

The Storey County Sheriff's Office could not immediately provide arrest records from the incident. Tesla said one journalist was arrested.

The Reno Gazette Journal, in a news article, reported that one of its photographers was arrested on a charge of battery with a deadly weapon.

The Reno Gazette Journal story noted the car driven by the journalists had been damaged, and that a rock had been used to shatter the driver's-side window. It said it wasn't clear how the damage had occurred.

The newspaper's publisher, John Maher, told the Journal that he was taking the incident very seriously.

An email seeking comment from the Reno Gazette Journal was not immediately returned.

Tesla's Gigafactory is aimed at easing the path to a cheaper electric car, the Model 3. The key is reducing the cost to build more of the lithium-ion batteries that its cars use.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said in September 2014 that about 6,500 jobs would be created directly at the plant, but as many as 22,500 jobs would be created in the state because of the project.

Following last week's incident, Tesla issued a warning.

"We appreciate the interest in the Gigafactory, but the repeated acts of trespassing, including by those working for the [Reno Gazette Journal], is illegal, dangerous and needs to stop," the company said.

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