New video of front-end loader slamming into south Jersey diner

March 8, 2013 3:25:48 PM PST
Authorities have released new surveillance video of a stolen front end loader slamming into the Piston Diner in Westville on Wednesday night.

It happened before midnight Wednesday.

The stolen front-end loader crashed into the side of the Piston Diner, located on the 800 block of Crown Point Road in Westville, Gloucester County.

The newly released surveillance video shows the scene inside the diner at the moment of impact.

After the crash, the operator lifted the front bucket causing even more damage to the building.

Police say the thief took the equipment from a construction site a ¼ of a mile away and headed southbound on Route 130 before making a U-turn into the diner.

There is surveillance footage from the Sunoco Logistics across the street. Cameras there didn't capture the crash, but they did record the approach of the front-end loader.

Cameras also captured a silver SUV, which appears to wait for the driver of the front-end loader as he ran from the diner. He is seen jumping into the SUV before the vehicle fled southbound on Route 130.

Police found bottles of alcohol in the cab, which they are processing for fingerprints. They say the ignition was tampered with, and that whoever stole the machine knew how to operate this type of equipment.

Crews tried to cause as little extra damage as possible when removing the piece of equipment by placing wooden beams to hold up portions of the damaged building.

The owner of Piston Diner, Jason Kramer, tells Action News that he just recently renovated the business and just reopened three months ago.

Kramer tells us, "I don't know. How do you react to a front-end loader in your restaurant? We just opened up three months ago - we were celebrating 90 days, and everything was on the up. I mean, we provided jobs in the town."

Police are investigating whether or not the diner was targeted.

Kramer hopes to have everything fixed to reopen in a month.