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Friday, June 11, 2010

Stolen Truck Reeled In From MD Harbor

Here's the story from www.oceancity.com:

This stolen tow truck was pulled out of the water at the  Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City on Wednesday morning.  OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE CULLEN This stolen tow truck was pulled out of the water at the Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City on Wednesday morning. OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE CULLEN A stolen tow truck ended up under water at the boat ramp of the Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City on Wednesday and police continue to search for the person responsible.

The apparent theft and sinking of the truck owned by Coastal Auto Recovery was discovered Wednesday morning as people launched a fishing boat down the ramp. As the boat slid off its trailer, it hit a large object under water. When the fishermen realized the object was a submerged tow truck, they called for help.

The Ocean City Fire Department received the call at 9:53 a.m., spokesman Steve Price said. Four members of the department’s dive team donned flippers, scuba tanks and bright red wetsuits as they dove into the water to see if anyone was trapped inside.

The dive team scoured the waters in and around the marina on Sunset Avenue but found no bodies inside the truck or in the area surrounding it.

Members of the Ocean City Fire Department’s dive team  hook up a sunken tow truck to another tow truck on land in preparation  to pull the submerged vehicle out of the water. Authorities are unsure  how the truck, reported stolen the previous night, ended up in the  water. The vehicle was found completely submerged by fishermen launching  their boat at the marina. OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE CULLEN Members of the Ocean City Fire Department’s dive team hook up a sunken tow truck to another tow truck on land in preparation to pull the submerged vehicle out of the water. Authorities are unsure how the truck, reported stolen the previous night, ended up in the water. The vehicle was found completely submerged by fishermen launching their boat at the marina. OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE CULLEN The cab of the tow truck was empty and the driver’s side window had been rolled all the way down, Price said. The divers searched the rest of the marina but found no sign of a driver.

“We still don’t know how it got there,” Price said.

That job is being left to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the incident that left the truck sitting in about eight feet of water at the end of the ramp. The truck was pointing into the water as if it had been driven down the ramp. All four wheels had gone off the concrete ramp, but the tail of the truck was still resting on the concrete.

According to Sgt. Bobby Brittingham of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the tow truck had been reported stolen at 12:30 a.m. the previous night. It had been parked in front of the owner’s home on Lake Street in West Ocean City, not far from the marina. Police have no suspects.

Cropper and Sons Towing assisted with the salvage, sending one of the company’s large tow trucks to retrieve the submerged truck. The divers attached a hook to the sunken vehicle and it was slowly pulled up onto land.

Water gushed out of the truck for minutes on end, but it did not appear to have suffered substantial damage. Brittingham said the keys were still in the ignition.

The fire department laid small, absorbent white sheets along the surface of the water to absorb fuel and other liquids leaking from the truck.

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