Stolen SUV recovered from Ohio River

Beth Sergent

April 17, 2014

POINT PLEASANT — The SUV which was spotted floating in the Ohio River early Tuesday morning was recovered Thursday afternoon.

Turns out the recovered SUV has been confirmed as being the stolen 2008 GMC Arcadia stolen Tuesday morning from a residence on South Park Dr., according to Point Pleasant Police Chief Joe Veith.

Veith said his department has four suspects in the case of the stolen vehicle, two juveniles and two adults. Charges should be filed in the next couple of days as investigators wrap up this case. Veith said since the investigation began, it appears the Arcadia was deliberately placed in the water north or Riverfront Park, near the area behind the central office of Mason County Schools. The vehicle then drifted to its resting place.

Getting the SUV out of the river has been a challenge, particularly with cold, windy weather conditions this week and a swift river current. An attempt to retrieve the vehicle was called off Tuesday due to these conditions though the vehicle was located, and tagged at that time, using special equipment by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Department.

On Thursday, divers with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) were to assist in recovering the vehicle but Point Pleasant Fire Chief Jeremy Bryant said they were unable to do so due to a jurisdiction issue. Instead, divers from the West Virginia State Police Special Operations Unit arrived to secure a line to the car to allow it to be hoisted out of the river. These divers were taken to the scene and assisted by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Department and Gallipolis Fire Department.

The vehicle was resting in about 18 feet of water, 20 or 30 feet from the bank just north of the railroad bridge above Riverfront Park. The first attempt to lift the vehicle, which weighs around 2,500 pounds without water, caused a cable to break. This meant the team had to start all over to secure another line though the second attempt was successful and the SUV was pulled from the water around 3:30 p.m.

This operation caused a massive search and rescue response and use of manpower with, fortunately, no lives being lost and recovery being limited to a vehicle.