EAST ST. LOUIS — An underwater search training exercise turned up an unexpected find -- stolen vehicles.
Divers with the Illinois Department of Conservation, Team Watters Sonar Search and Recovery from Moro and the O'Fallon Underwater Search and Rescue Team located the vehicles Tuesday afternoon at Frank Holten State Park.
Some of the vehicles had been stolen years ago, authorities said.
Gary Brewer, director of the Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force was notified by the divers about the discovery.
"We went to the lake and task force agents examined and attempted to identify who the owners were after three vehicles were pulled out of the water," Brewer said. "Two of them were immediately identified as stolen."
One vehicle, a 1993 Plymouth Voyager van, was stolen in 2005 from rural St. Clair County.
Brewer called the owner of the vehicle.
"He was surprised that it had been found after so many years. His son had been using it and had parked it in Swansea when it was stolen," Brewer said.
The second vehicle, a 1972 Plymouth four-door sedan, was stolen in 1983 from East St. Louis.
Brewer said this one was a little more difficult to identify.
"We haven't gotten the report from East St. Louis on this one yet. And, with it being so old, we're going to have to do some research," Brewer said.
The third vehicle, a copper-colored 1985 Chevrolet Caprice two door, also was recovered.
"It's pretty deteriorated," he said.
Anyone who believes they may be the owner of the last two cars is asked to call special agent Michael Conrad with the Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force at 397-3987.