A man walking around Iroquois Lake in Schenectady’s Central Park on Monday morning spotted a car submerged in the middle of the lake.
Now police are trying to determine how the car got there. Police removed the car from the lake and found no one inside.
The car was reported stolen in Niskayuna in November, police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said.
That led to speculation that whoever stole it drove onto the icy lake and then it broke through. The car was found far from shore, suggesting it didn’t roll in and wasn’t driven in.
But there it was Monday morning, sitting upright in the lake, spotted by Schenectady resident Christopher Arnold.
Arnold said he was walking along the trail around the lake when he looked out at the water. He noted the water level seemed to be lower than normal. Then he spotted what looked like the roof of a car.
He said he asked others nearby what they thought it was. Some agreed with his suspicions, others didn’t. Finally, he found a city worker and reported it.
“Hopefully it’s just a car,” Arnold said at the scene as the car continued to sit on the bottom of the lake. “Unbelievable, huh?”
McCracken didn’t have the exact date the car was stolen.
Temperatures didn’t fall into the range where ice would start forming until at least Nov. 24, according to the National Weather Service. The high that day was 27, the start of a stretch of days with freezing temperatures.
But exactly when the ice would have been thick enough to support the car out to where it fell in was unclear.
However it got there, it appears no one saw it go in or saw evidence that a car had gone in, that is until Monday.
The car could barely be seen in the water. The sunroof could be seen, but it was obscured enough that it would easily escape notice without being pointed out.
The car, a Lexus, appeared white or silver.
The discovery led to a small crowd forming at the lake to watch the unusual sight of a car being pulled from the weedy waters.
Police first got a small boat to go out and inspect the car and get its license plate. The state police dive team then arrived, along with two tow trucks from H&K Towing.
Two divers went out, one getting in the water to look around. The diver also attached a cable from a tow truck to the front end.
The tow truck then started pulling the car to shore. The muddy car soon emerged from the depths. The windows were up, but the trunk was open. Some water could be seen coming out the sides as it was pulled out.
A second truck then came in to do the tricky task of getting the car over the lake wall. That process led to the front bumper being ripped off. Soon, though, it was on dry land again.