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Car found submerged in Laguna Lake was stolen, police say

Spectators gather to watch the removal of a car found submerged in San Luis Obispo's Laguna Lake on Monday, July 28.
Spectators gather to watch the removal of a car found submerged in San Luis Obispo's Laguna Lake on Monday, July 28. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: The station wagon discovered in Laguna Lake on Sunday has been missing since 2006, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Cpt. Chris Staley said Monday afternoon that the 1996 Subaru had been reported stolen in Pismo Beach. An initial check of the vehicle did not show it as missing due to the length of time since it was stolen.

The owner of the vehicle, who is no longer a resident of San Luis Obispo County, has been located.

Staley said the keys remained in the ignition when it was pulled from the banks of the lake. No evidence was immediately identified inside the vehicle, Staley said.

He added that investigators still do not know how long the car has been submerged, but the discovery of its theft indicated it may have been there a while.

"We're thinking it may have been there a long time," Staley said.

Original story: A car was found submerged in Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo on Monday morning, though it remains unclear how it got there or how long it’s been underwater.

The late-’90s or early 2000s model station wagon was pulled from the banks of the lake around noon Monday. It was caked with mud and the back window was broken.

A crowd gathered as the car was pulled onto the bed of a tow truck.

The investigation remained ongoing Monday afternoon, and San Luis Obispo police at the scene did not release further details.

“We don’t know how long it’s been in there or much at this point,” said Sgt. John Villanti.

Villanti said the department received a report Sunday night after the roof of the car was spotted peeking above the water.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Dive Team were also on the scene Monday morning.

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