Employee charged with sabotaging plant

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
A county man has been accused of allegedly damaging a machine at the Pilgrim’s Pride processing plant after he did not receive a promotion he thought he deserved.
Franklin County Sheriff Larry Plott said Tony Welborn, 27, of 89 Sutton Lane, Spruce Pine, has been charged with first-degree criminal mischief after deliberately trying to damage $200,000 worth of machinery at his workplace.
Sheriff’s investigators said Welborn was taken into custody March 2, but the investigation had been on going since allegations were reported back in February.
Company officials said the problem began in November 2009 and accused Welborn, who is no longer employed with the company, of causing $25,000 worth of damage in one day.
Plott said Welborn is accused of purposely putting small pieces of metal fragments into one of the machines at the plant in an effort to cause significant damage.
Plott said the damages caused delays in production, which in return cost the company thousands of dollars.
Investigators said Welborn admitted to his involvement, but defended himself by claiming to be upset about a promotion he believed he deserved but did not receive.
Welborn was released from the Franklin County Jail on $1,500 bond. If convicted, Welborn could face 1-10 years in prison.

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