Tesla is enhancing security at Gigafactory, says they got a call that ex-employee was threatening violence

Key Points
  • A Tesla spokesperson said the company got a call from a friend of alleged saboteur Martin Tripp claiming he was threatening to shoot up the Gigafactory.
  • The Storey County sheriff's office said an investigation found there was "no credible threat" at Tesla's Gigafactory, but an investigation into the threat's origin is ongoing.
Musk thinks a saboteur exists within Tesla, email shows

A Tesla spokesperson told CNBC that Martin Tripp, an ex-employee who the company is suing for alleged data theft and hacking, may have threatened to attack the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.

The spokesperson said:

"Yesterday afternoon, we received a phone call from a friend of Mr. Tripp telling us that Mr. Tripp would be coming to the Gigafactory to 'shoot the place up.' Police have been notified and actions are being taken to enhance security at the Gigafactory."

Attempts to reach Tripp for comment were not successful. However, Tripp told the Washington Post that he never made any such treat, and called the allegation "insane."

The Storey County sheriff's office in Nevada, where the Gigafactory is located, said while the investigation is ongoing, there was no credible threat.

Here's the full statement from the sheriff:

On 06/20/18 the Storey County Sheriff's Office received information of a potential threat to the physical security of the Tesla Gigafactory. Deputies responded to investigate the potential threat.

After several hours of investigation deputies were able to determine there was no credible threat. Further investigation into the threat's origin continues. No additional information concerning the ongoing investigation will be released until it's [sic] conclusion to protect the investigative process.

The names of all involved parties are being withheld pending the completion of the investigation.

Gerald Antinoro


In previous interviews with CNN and the Washington Post, Tripp claimed whistleblower status.

Tripp told CNN that he was fired and sued by Tesla because he was "trying to warn investors and the public about problems at the electric carmaker." He alleged that Tesla used 1,100 damaged battery modules in Model 3 vehicles currently on the road, that Tesla was storing an excessive and hazardous amount of scrap in Nevada, and that Tesla inflated the number of Model 3 electric sedans it had produced.

Tesla has sued Tripp claiming he hacked into the company's TMOS, or Tesla Manufacturing Operating System, exported data without authorization and gave false statements to press. The company painted him as an employee disgruntled over being denied a promotion.

Tesla has also countered Tripp's assertions, noting that there has been no battery safety issue in any Model 3 to date, that Tesla throws out damaged modules when they are produced at the Gigafactory and that Tripp only guessed at scrap volumes and misidentified materials stored on site at the Gigafactory.

In a Washington Post interview on Wednesday night, Tripp said allegations that he hacked into the company's factory software were false. He also said Tesla had mischaracterized him, he was not concerned about any promotion.

WATCH: Tesla sues former employee over hacking, sharing secrets

Tesla sues former employee over hacking and sharing secrets