SYDNEY, Australia (AP)–A man went on a rampage with a stolen 1967 FV432 armored personnel carrier through suburban Sydney on Saturday, July 14. During the 90-minute escapade, John Robert Patterson, 45, targeted several several mobile phone towers, telecommunications buildings and an electricity substation before being arrested.
Patterson, a resident of the Sydney suburb of Dharruk, has been charged with predatory driving and six counts of malicious damage. Patterson led officers on a 90-minute chase across six western suburbs before the vehicle stalled as it was being driven toward another mobile phone tower, New South Wales police said in a statement.
A disgruntled armor enthusiast stole a 1967 British FV432 armored personnel carrier and went a 90-minute cell tower crushing spree in Australia.
During the rampage, Patterson and his tank brought down four Telstra mobile phone towers and damaged three Optus towers. The rampage continued until the vehicle stalled on the way to another phone tower. Mount Druitt police chief inspector Guy Haberley said, "He continued to destroy mobile phone tower communications sheds by crashing through the perimeter fence and colliding with structures, causing significant damage."
The armored personnel carrier was from a company called A-One Lift Truck Services in the town of Minchinbury, and was popular with students hiring it for school formals, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Greg Morris, the owner of the company, said he hired the man, identified as John Robert Patterson, to help restore the 40-year-old vehicle, the paper reported.
"We worked on this together, and he loved the work he was doing," Mr Morris said. "I remember once when we took it out, someone touched it, and he lost his temper with them. That’s how much pride he took in his work. He put hundreds of hours of work into it and helped build it. He loved it just as much as I did.” Morris said the man had a beef with mobile phone towers.
Police say six mobile phone towers and an electricity substation were destroyed during the chase. (ABC)
"He used to work for Telstra and told us he was going through a medical claim for his head injury. He said something about the radiation from the towers had caused it,” Morris said.
The drama began at 2am when the ex-British APCwas taken from a holding shed and headed straight for its first target: an electricity substation at Michinbury. Patterson rammed a police car as it drove from the Mount Druitt Hospital car park. The APC continued on through the suburbs of Mount Druitt, Dharruk, Emerton, Glendenning and Plumpton with 10 police vehicles in pursuit. Several times police were forced to retreat when the driver swung the tank towards them. Patterson taunted police by leaning his head out the side window to wave at them.
Police inspect the armored personel carrier that brought down four Telstra mobile phone towers, and damaged three Optus ones.
Photo: Jacky Ghossein
The joyride ended at four in the morning when the vehicle stalled as Patterson attempted to destroy a seventh mobile phone tower. Police used capsicum sprayto subdue the man, who was dragged head first from the APC by officers.
Police charged him with numerous offenses, including predatory driving, possession of a prohibited drug and use of a weapon to avoid apprehension.