updated 6/30/2008 10:26:31 PM ET 2008-07-01T02:26:31

Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies say a 22-year-old man stole a deputy's car and took it for a joyride on the Mississippi River levee before driving it into the river. Sheriff Newell Normand says the suspect was apprehended while swimming in the water.

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Normand said that a deputy was responding to a complaint in Metairie around 6 a.m. Sunday and when he went to return to his car, he found that it was gone.

A few minutes later, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's office notified Jefferson Parish deputies that a police unit was driving erratically on the levee.

The deputies said they then saw the car drive into the water.

Normand said the man has a lengthy prior criminal history for armed robber, simple robbery, disturbing the peace, DWI as well as numerous narcotics charges.

Divers suspended their search for the submerged squad car around midday Sunday, but deputies say the department might use sonar equipment to attempt to retrieve it.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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