Thieves dump van in water


Rescue workers waited at the edge of Liberty Reservoir yesterday as divers searched to see if anyone was trapped in a van submerged about 60 feet offshore.

The voice of diver Shawn Chenowith came over the radio, saying that no one was in the vehicle, and those standing on the boat ramp off Oakland Mills Road relaxed. The divers, Mr. Chenowith and Richard Green, swam back to shore after searching the waters around the van and finding nothing.

Workers at the Emergency Operations Center in Westminster said they received a call about 9:20 a.m. saying a vehicle was in Liberty Reservoir and it wasn't known if anyone was inside.

The dispatcher notified Sykesville and Gamber fire stations and requested two divers from Gamber's underwater rescue team.

At the site, east of Eldersburg, the divers suited up and swam to the van, which was submerged with its roof about a foot below the surface.

Baltimore County police said a Reisterstown resident had reported that the full-size van, which belongs to a floor covering company in Pikesville, was stolen overnight.

Officers were taking the report when the vehicle was found on the Carroll County side of the reservoir.

Investigators said the thieves apparently put the van in neutral, released the brakes and let it drift down the steep slope and into the Baltimore City water supply.

No one reported seeing the incident.

A log skidder, a piece of heavy equipment used for moving logs at the watershed, pulled the van from the water after Mr. Chenowith attached a heavy cable to the vehicle.

The van was loaded on a truck and taken away.

The investigation into the theft and dumping of the van into the reservoir is continuing, police said.

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