MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Officials in one Westchester County city were angered after snow plow trucks were sabotaged ahead of Tuesday’s snowstorm, creating a crisis on the roads.
Mount Vernon’s police chief called it an attack on public safety as Westchester saw roughly three inches of snow by late afternoon.
Using a hanger, county and Mount Vernon mechanics spent hours Monday morning fishing out Latex gloves from gas tanks of some 30 plow and sanitation trucks.
“It’s a direct attack on the people of Mount Vernon,” Mayor Richard Thomas said. “We are not going to tolerate it. We may be bloody, but we are unbowed.”
The supervising mechanic at Mount Vernon’s Department of Public Works said the problem was discovered after the first truck went out at around 5 a.m. and broke down. Then he got a call about a sanitation truck puttering. Not long after, mechanics found the gloves.
“It clogs up the sump, which sucks up the fuel into the motor,” Mount Vernon DPW supervising mechanic Edgar Torres said.
Torres said it’s similar to a toilet clog, and won’t cause permanent mechanical damage. All trucks needed to salt and plow couldn’t go out until after 10 a.m. That meant there were numerous untreated roads, creating dangerous conditions.
“We did see oil tankers spinning out. We did see buses getting stuck on inclines and slopes,” Mayor Thomas said.
“We also had to divert officers from their regular course of duty to block off roads,” Mount Vernon Police Chief Shawn Harris said.
The mayor suggests the snow plow sabotage is tied to a series of recent attacks on his administration, including a pipe bomb threat at City Hall.
“How many mayors can count the amount of court orders they have against the city council and the comptroller? So this is directly attacking me for serving the people of Mount Vernon,” Thomas said.
Chief Harris said there is surveillance footage the department is reviewing, but would only say that the mischief happened sometime between 3 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday.