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Gator stolen in FC recovered in town

FALLS CITY — The John Deere Gator stolen from the Falls City water treatment plant has been found, but the search is on for suspects in the theft.

The small utility vehicle belonged to the Falls City Public Works Department and was mainly used at the plant.

Mayor Terry Ungricht told the Falls City City Council Thursday that it had been stolen. He said the vehicle was uninsured at the time of its disappearance on Aug. 4.

Ungricht said he and public works staff searched for it, with no luck, and reported it stolen to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Falls City resident Mike McConnell posted the theft on Facebook in hopes of generating tips.

“Someone claims they saw it coming out of the upper cemetery (Thursday) at 2 a.m., so we are hoping it’s still in town,” Ungricht said.

He said the Gator is a “very critical piece of equipment,” used to clean sand filters at the plant.

“It will have to be replaced,” Ungricht said. “We are looking at the cost of $15,000.”

That won’t be necessary. Ungricht said Tuesday the Gator has been found.

“We found it, missing a hood and was partially repainted, but still operates good,” Ungricht said.

Sheriff Mark Garton said the vehicle was found on Friday night on Sample Road in Falls City.

“It looks like a neighbor saw it driving, saw some on it and reported it,” he said.

By the time deputies arrived, the Gator was there, but the driver wasn’t.

“We looked around in the barn nearby and didn’t find anybody,” Garton said. “The case is still open. I’m sure we will hear something.”

In other business, the council:

• Will be interviewing up to three candidates to fill the city recorder position on Aug. 31.

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