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Up ... and away! Thief uses crane to steal Jeep

A thief used a crane to lift a Jeep Wrangler off of a northern Indiana car lot over the weekend, local media reported.
/ Source: NBC News and msnbc.com

A thief used a crane to lift a Jeep Wrangler off of a northern Indiana car lot over the weekend, local media reported.

Surveillance camera footage at LaPorte Chrysler showed someone driving a truck carrying a crane onto the lot, then circling around to park next to the 2008 Wrangler, Chicago NBC station WMAQ reported. Then the thief hooked the Jeep with the crane and loaded it onto a trailer.

The entire operation, which occurred at 6:40 a.m. Sunday, took all of six minutes, according to WMAQ.

"The Jeep has to be heavily damaged," The Chicago Tribune quoted dealership general manager Matt Magnuson as saying. "He clamped into the roof, put the jaws through both doors and lifted it up."

The two-door Wrangler was bright red with a snowplow.  It had been sold and was sitting in the dealership's back lot.

"The owner thought we were joking with him when we told him it had been lifted out of the lot," Magnuson said, according to the Tribune. "But once he saw the media coverage of the theft, he realized it wasn't a joke."

Police told WSBT-TV that they arrested a single suspect in the case Tuesday.  They recovered the crane allegedly used, LaPorte Police Chief of Detectives Adam Klimczak told the station, but had not yet found the missing vehicle.