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Vehicle found in Hempstead Lake State Park was stolen, officials say

Emergency personnel at Hempstead Lake State Park pond

Emergency personnel at Hempstead Lake State Park pond Tuesday, where a vehicle was found in the water. Credit: Lou Minutoli

No one was found inside — or nearby — what appears to be a stolen SUV that ended up in the north pond of Hempstead Lake State Park on Tuesday morning, officials said.

"We've never had a car go in the water that far," said Michael Koppel, a fire commissioner with the Lakeview Fire Department, though sometimes-hapless boat launchers have driven their vehicles in from nearby.

The Lakeview Fire Department, arriving at about 5:50 a.m., spotted the vehicle about 50 feet offshore. An interior light was still on, suggesting it had not been there very long, as the battery had yet to short out, Koppel said. 

First responders swam out.

"No one was found in the vehicle. We did a quick search of the surrounding area to make sure no one was ejected out of the vehicle," Koppel said.

State Police said later in the day they had confirmed the vehicle was stolen from Rosedale, Queens.

Multiple agencies had responded to the scene at the pond, including the state park police and state and Nassau police officers. Police believe the vehicle may have been driven into the water from Peninsula Boulevard, which runs along the pond's eastern edge. 

"There were some marks on the shoreline. It was kind of hard to tell exactly how it happened," Koppel said.

State Park Police Maj. Anthony Astacio said: "My guess is it came off Peninsula Boulevard. Thank God it ended with just a car in the water."

With Chau Lam

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