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Tesla alleges act of employee sabotage in U.S. plant

Tesla is warning workers at its auto plant in Fremont, California, that an employee allegedly “maliciously sabotaged” part of a factory last month and was fired after an internal investigation, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg News.

The automaker responded to the incident rapidly, and operations at the facility were disrupted for only a short period, according to an email sent Monday by Al Prescott, Tesla’s vice president of legal and acting general counsel.

“Two weeks ago, our IT and InfoSec teams determined that an employee had maliciously sabotaged a part of the factory,” Prescott wrote. “Their quick actions prevented further damage and production was running smoothly again a few hours later.”

More than 10,000 people work at Tesla’s auto plant in Fremont, where the company makes the S, X, 3 and Y models. It was not immediately clear if Tesla handled the incident internally or reached out to law-enforcement agencies for assistance. A spokeswoman for the Fremont Police Department said Tuesday that they have not responded to any incident that matches these circumstances. The San Francisco office of the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The employee, who was not named, allegedly sought to “cover up his tracks,” blame a co-worker and destroy a company computer, the email said. “Ultimately, after being shown the irrefutable evidence, the employee confessed. As a result, we terminated employment.”

Tesla is no stranger to concerns of sabotage and has a robust internal-security team. Last month, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s factory in Nevada was the target of a thwarted cyberattack by a Russian national.

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