BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — Police are trying to determine who drove a large, front-end loader at the town’s trash transfer station into the muck at the back of the old landfill sometime Wednesday evening or early yesterday morning.
“We discovered this morning that someone came in over the course of the evening and got on JRM’s large loader and drove it through the very back of the old dump area into some woods, and it ended up in a pond,” said Robert Lee, director of operations for the public works department. The transfer station is located at 3 East Coast Road.
Lee said that whoever was there also started and moved a separate piece of heavy equipment, the excavator that is owned by a gas extraction project contractor. (This project is meant to fix the smell of methane that Peabody residents have complained is coming from the landfill, Lee said.)
“As far I know, there was no damage to that. It was not taken that far,” Lee said.
Workers used an excavator to pull the Komatsu front-end loader out of the mud after it sank into the ground on the northwest portion of the landfill, toward the Rosewood office park, Lee said. The excavator was found with half its large tires sunk into the muck. It was taken to the shop for repairs.
“Strangely enough, I heard they got it going,” Lee said. Workers also took care of a minor fuel leak.
The loader is owned by JRM Hauling and Recycling of Peabody, the company that operates the transfer station, Lee said. The loader is used to move trash within the building there.
Employees discovered the loader was missing when they reported to work yesterday morning. Police were dispatched on a report of missing machinery at 7:18 a.m., police Sgt. Robert Bettencourt said. Detectives and Patrolman John Melto are investigating.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.