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Divers help pull out stolen pickup found in Red River in north Fargo

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FARGO -- A pickup reported stolen Thursday from a West Fargo construction firm was pulled from the Red River in north Fargo on Sunday.

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A pedestrian on the bike path by Mickelson Field in north Fargo saw tire tracks leading into the river and called authorities just before 11 a.m. Sunday, Assistant Fargo Fire Chief Larry Schuh said.

Fargo and Moorhead firefighters in boats probed the water with long poles and found the pickup under about 8 feet of water, Schuh said.

Valley Water Rescue divers hooked a cable to the pickup, and two wreckers were used to pull it out just after 2 p.m. in the 700 block of North River Road.

No one was in the pickup, Schuh said.

West Fargo police said the pickup was reported stolen at 8:06 a.m. Thursday from Adelman Concrete & Excavating.

Fargo police Sgt. Jeff Skuza said it appears someone intentionally let the unoccupied pickup roll into the river, probably within 48 hours of when it was found.

Getting the pickup out of the river wasn't easy, Skuza said. The first wrecker pulling the pickup started sliding toward the river in the mud, so a second wrecker was brought in to stabilize it. The two wreckers used their winches in tandem to pull the pickup out, he said.

There were items in the Ford F-250 pickup when it was stolen, but investigators had yet to go through the pickup as of late Sunday afternoon, Skuza said.

"We'll be able to do a better investigation once it dries out a little bit," he said.

The pickup was covered in mud and smelled like fuel, he said. Police believe fuel stored in a tank in the back of the pickup leaked into the river, he said.

Fargo police impounded the pickup for West Fargo police and its owner.

The Salvation Army also assisted crews at the scene.

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