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Thief Used Crane to Lift Jeep Wrangler Off Lot

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 24, 2011 6:55 AM

Car theft is common, but a Jeep-Chrysler dealership in La Porte, Ind. has an uncommon tale to tell.

Early last weekend, an unknown suspect used a crane to steal a car from the dealer's lot. Security footage depicts a flatbed truck with an attached crane pulling onto the premises. The crane then grabs a 2008 Jeep Wrangler by its roof, smashing windows and probably destroying the hardtop.

The thief then drove away with the $25,000 car. It has yet to be found.

This is sad news for the person who purchased the car just two days before. The dealership had been searching for the specific vehicle for two years at his request, reports ABC News. Now it's probably useless.

The suspect who has been arrested, but not identified, is probably facing time for using a crane to steal the car.

Automobile theft is a Class D felony in Indiana, and carries with it a minimum sentence of 6 months, and a maximum sentence of 3 years. The state suggests judges impose a sentence of at least 1 1/2 years.

The car thief can also be hit with a $10,000 fine and restitution. He will either have to pay to have the car fixed, or the amount it costs to replace the rare vehicle.

The vehicle's owners, and perhaps the dealership, can also sue him civilly for any damages not covered by restitution. This would include compensation for "loss of use" and the time it takes to locate a similar Jeep.

Using a crane to steal a car is costly--especially when you get caught.

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