Divers Discover Stolen Cars In Clay Pit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/11/06-Cherokee County

Divers Discover Stolen Cars In Clay Pit

An East Texas clay pit is filled with more than just water. It's also full of stolen vehicles. Members of the DPS Dive Recovered Team have discovered four vehicles and a 4 wheeler. The clay pit is located on County Road 4706 in Cherokee County. That's about six miles Southwest of Troup. As the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department was investigating a burglary a month ago, a tip led them to the pit.

Divers were busy Wednesday looking for cars, but in 40 feet deep water, seeing the cars isn't easy.

"He has no visibility," said Charlie Goble, Senior Trooper for DPS Dive Recovery Team. "He's strictly working feel. We do have communication with him, so we can talk to him and he can talk to us during the entire dive." The oil and gasoline filled water is also not safe to swim in.

"It was a concern for us," said Goble. "The acidic level was pretty high in this body of water. We are equip with special suits to keep the water off the diver." The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department says right now they have no idea how many cars are down there. They say the vehicles appear to have been stripped before being dumped. Yesterday, divers recovered two pick up trucks, a car and a 4 wheeler from the water. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department says one of the pick up trucks and the 4 wheeler have been reported stolen. Today, divers pulled out another pick up truck. Members of the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force say they found a VIN number on the truck that matches one stolen from Longview. This isn't the first time, however, stolen cars have been found in this area.

"Approximately one year ago there was a dive team out here that searched the immediate area where they are looking now and there was a vehicle recovered out here," said Major Johnathan Rhodes, Chief Deputy for Cherokee County Sheriff's Department. Sometime between then and now, deputies say they believe these cars were dumped.

The East Texas Auto Theft Task Force says the divers did not find any more cars after we left. It also says they did not find the car the sheriff's department believed to have been down there. Now the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department has to try to find out who dumped the vehicles.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

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