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Stolen, abandoned cars pulled from Doral lake, police say

Stolen, abandoned cars pulled from Doral lake, police say
Stolen, abandoned cars pulled from Doral lake, police say 02:02

MIAMI - Miami-Dade police recovered a number of vehicles from the murky waters of a lake in Doral on Tuesday, where investigators believe as many as 30 cars are sunk on the bottom.

"The majority of the vehicles that are in there are very old, leading us to believe that these vehicles were dumped in this lake probably way before these warehouses were even here," said Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.  

Expert on vehicles found in Doral lake 05:15

Just after 10 a.m., a wrecker pulled the first car out of the water in the area of NW 90th Avenue and 13th Terrace, not too far from the CBS News Miami studios.

Doral police said Sunday that they were alerted to the cars after the volunteer dive team, United Seach Corps, conducted a search of the lake.

"We have been informed that a private search company possibly located multiple sunken vehicles in the area of 9064 NW 13th Terrace. Although we cannot confirm at this time, we will continue to gather further information in the coming days and work with multiple entities to investigate this matter," Doral police said in a statement.

 "We obviously don't want these things happening in our backyard and we hope that they do not continue to happen," said Doral Mayor Christi Fraga.  

"It seems as if this area was a hot spot when none of this was developed where cars were driven into the lake," she added. 

The search and recovery process is in the hands of Miami-Dade police who also received word about the vehicles over the weekend.

Police pull submerged cars from a lake in Doral 01:42

"We received information from a citizen on Sunday that apparently he was diving out here he appeared to observe what appeared to be several dozen vehicles that had been dumped in this lake. Once we received this information, our divers unit immediately collaborated with other agencies at the police department and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue so we could put this operation together in order to be able to recover all of the vehicles," said Zabaleta.

He said the first vehicle pulled out of the water was a 2002 Nissan Ultima and it was confirmed to be a stolen vehicle.

"These are most likely the type of vehicles that we are going to find here dumped in this lake. Vehicles that were abandoned and they wanted to get rid of them. Or those that were taken for a joy ride, they were stolen and were dumped inside the lake," said Zabaleta.

He said homicide detectives were standing by in case a vehicle pulled from the water links to a death investigation, adding that they have no information that leads them to believe that these cases will be elevated to that level. 

Police will now use the VIN number from each vehicle as a starting point for their investigations.

"Law enforcement will now go back and run those vin numbers and it will be very interesting to see how many unsolved crimes will now be able to be closed out because of now the recovery of these individual vehicles," said Stuart Kaplan, an attorney and former FBI agent.

Zabaleta said removing the vehicles from the water will hopefully help them close open investigations.

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