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Second stolen vehicle found in Lake Lanier
Fisherman using sonar device discovered the vehicles off Mountain View Park
0730STOLEN
Hall County dive teams members pull a stolen vehicle out of Lake Lanier. - photo by For The Times

Authorities have recovered a second stolen vehicle found this week in Lake Lanier.

The Hall County Sheriff's Office dive team pulled a 2003 Toyota Four Runner from the lake Thursday.

They believe the vehicle was stolen seven years ago from Oakwood.

A fisherman using a sonar device found the vehicle.

The fisherman also located a stolen 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser that authorities recovered Tuesday.

The vehicles were about 75 feet away from each other in the lake. Authorities believe both vehicles were rolled into the lake from a nearby boat ramp at Mountain View Park.

The incident is still under investigation. Hall County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said authorities do not have any reason to believe the two crimes were related.

He said there were no reports of crime sprees involving Toyota SUVs in the county.

"At this point, we think this is strictly a coincidence," Wilbanks said.

Police found the vehicles after a fisherman who saw "oily bubbles" coming from the water near the boat ramp used his sonar to look at the object, Col. Jeff Strickland, the sheriff's office's chief deputy, told The Times earlier this week.

The fisherman contacted the sheriff's office. The dive team pulled the blue Toyota FJ Cruiser from the water, which had been reported stolen in June 2010 from a Browns Bridge Road residence.

But later, the angler went back to the area where the car was found and noticed a vehicle was still under water, according to Wilbanks.

"He contacted us again, not knowing, I don't think, if we had missed the vehicle or realized there was still a vehicle there," Wilbanks said.

Both vehicles seemed to have been underwater for a "considerable amount of time," Wilbanks, judging from the amount of silt on them.

However, Wilbanks said that as close as the vehicles were located to the boat ramp, they likely weren't dumped in the lake until after lake levels rebounded from a drought in 2007 and '08.

The vehicles were located in about 23 feet of water, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

 

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