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Sink-happy auto thief sought

By: R. SCOTT RAPPOLD THE GAZETTE
July 1, 2005
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Colorado Springs police are trying to find a teenager they say is stealing cars, joy riding in them and then disposing of the evidence in watery or muddy graves.
Since June 24, two stolen cars have been found mostly submerged in lakes, and a third was recovered from deep mud hundreds of yards from a road. Two were stolen from northeast Colorado Springs, and another was taken from Security in El Paso County. The first theft occurred June 17, when a Hyundai Santa Fe was reported stolen from Candleflower Circle. A week later, it was found in deep mud 800 feet from the pavement near Tamlin and McLaughlin roads. The mud was so deep, deputies warned the owner to wear waders to inspect the car. On Monday, a Toyota Tacoma pickup was taken from a driveway on Painted Daisy Court. Around 11 p.m., police spotted and pursued the stolen pickup, abandoning the chase after “reckless behavior exhibited by the suspect,” according to police. The next morning, it was found in a retention pond near Meridian and Tamlin roads. Deputies found several bullet casings nearby, and divers searched the water for a body. A handgun from the truck is still missing. Colorado Springs police detective Chuck Ackerman said a 17-year-old is suspected in both thefts. The teen has not been arrested. Thursday, a Chevy Avalanche, stolen from a driveway on Modell Drive in Security, was found almost completely submerged in Big Johnson Reservoir, south of Colorado Springs Airport. It had been reported stolen Feb. 23.
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