Thieves dump pickup truck in Lake Lanier

LAWRENCEVILLE - Authorities pulled a stolen pickup truck from Lake Lanier Friday after boaters saw the vehicle plunge into its murky depths shortly after midnight.

The boaters were at a dock at East Bank Park off Buford Dam Road when they noticed two trucks parked at the top of a nearby boat ramp, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department. They heard a loud revving of an engine, saw one truck rolling down the ramp and then saw a man run and jump into the waiting vehicle.

The boaters called 911, prompting Gwinnett County Fire Department's Swiftwater Rescue Team and Gwinnett County police to descend upon the scene. A dive team from Forsyth County Fire Department also responded.

Emergency responders hooked a cable from a large wrecker to the submerged pickup truck and hauled it up to shore, said Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department. No one was found in or around the truck - a dark colored, newer model Chevrolet Avalanche.

"We can say this is unusual. We're just happy nobody was in it," Moloney said.

Gwinnett County Police impounded the truck and transported it to headquarters on Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville to be analyzed by crime scene investigators.

A check of the vehicle tag revealed it had been stolen from somewhere in Gwinnett on Thursday, but police were unable to provide details. The boaters didn't get a good look at the suspects since it was dark and they were far away, Moloney said.