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Disgruntled NC ex-food plant employee said she would ‘burn the plant down and shoot it up’ before attempted arson, deputies say



ELIZABETHTOWN N.C. Local Charlotte — A 26-year-old Lumberton woman faces a series of charges after deputies said she not only tried to set fire to a break area at a Smithfield Foods plant but also used a hammer to vandalize five cars belonging to management.

On Oct. 12, a former employee of Smithfield Foods threw a plastic jug filled with accelerants onto a canopy in a break area of the business, the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office said.

The suspect fled the area in a burgundy sedan but witnesses were able to identify her as Latasha Rena Bittle, deputies said.

Earlier that day, Bittle sent an email to Smithfield corporate. Deputies said she had become disgruntled about an incident that occurred when she was still working for the company.

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During that incident, Bittle was heard stating that she would “burn the plant down and shoot it up.”

Two days later, a slender female was seen using a hammer to break the windows of five vehicles in the Smithfield Foods management parking lot.

The suspect left the scene in the same vehicle that was seen following the attempted arson, deputies said.

Deputies learned Bittle had turned herself into the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office on outstanding charges not related to the Smithfield crimes.

Bladen County Sheriff’s Office investigators went to Columbus County where Bittle confessed to the attempted arson and acts of vandalism, deputies said.

She was charged with:

  • Second-degree trespassing
  • Damage to occupied property with explosive
  • Five counts of injury to personal property

Bittle was placed in the Bladen County Detention Center under a $4,000 secured bond.

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