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Ottumwa drains Des Moines River, stolen car found

Lisa Cook said Ottumwa police recovered her husband’s car that was stolen about ten years ago. They found it near the Blackhawk Boat Ramp/KTVO

Ottumwa Water and Hydro drained a portion of the Des Moines river overnight Sunday to make repairs to the dam.

A few scavengers took the opportunity to check it out first thing Monday to see what they could find. We went on our own hunt Monday, for a stolen vehicle at the Blackhawk boat ramp.

"In the past, they've found cars, four-wheelers, things that were stolen,” said Ottumwa Water and Hydro Production Manager, Tim Albert. “I’m sure, that people have probably seen a few surprises out there.”

For an Ottumwa family, it was indeed a surprise. Lisa Cook told KTVO Ottumwa police recovered her husband’s car that was stolen about ten years ago.

Cook was at the boat ramp Monday, looking for the Grand Prix, but there wasn't a car in sight.

So KTVO tried another spot at the end of Gateway Drive and found an old vehicle, wedged into surface of the shoreline, but it wasn't the Grand Prix.

Ottumwa Police Chief Tom McAndrew confirmed, officers did find a stolen vehicle near the boat ramp Monday morning, about 150 yards from the railroad tracks.

It was quite a hike, but KTVO found it, hidden behind a log on the right side of the riverbank.

McAndrew said it's not uncommon to find cars, bikes or motorcycles when the city drains the river.

Ottumwa boater, Mark Carder remembers the last time crews drained the Des Moines in 2012, so he came back out Monday morning, to get another look.

"We boat down here all the time, so it's always good to come down here, this is a rare opportunity to be able to see where the channel really is, what obstacles there are," Carder said.

KTVO stumbled upon a few others, curious to see what was beneath the surface.

"We just encourage people, it looks like some place a person could walk out on, please don't, that's saturated mud and we've had people in the past try to venture out into it and the fire departments had to rescue them," Albert said.

About 6 miles of the river will be dry for the rest of this week, and maybe even longer.

Right now, crews are making cylinder repairs to the center gate of the dam.


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