(KSLA) — How does a police car go missing for a couple weeks and wind up out of state in a river bottoms thicket 90 miles from home with the keys in the trunk lock?
And it had not been reported as stolen?
That’s the mystery East Texas investigators have on their hands.
Those also are among questions likely being asked in the halls of the Shreveport Police Department.
“They apparently did not even know this car was missing,” Bowie County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Hadaway told KSLA News 12.
It was 8:05 a.m. Sept. 10 when he and a deputy responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle about eight to nine miles north of Texarkana, according to a vehicle report filed by Hadaway.
“Initially, we did not know it was a police car until we got around the side of it,” he said of the white Crown Victoria discovered along Bowie County Road 2302 just off Farm-to-Market Road 1397.
The sedan was backed up in thick brush outside a vacant residence, his report states. Its doors and trunk were open.
“It appeared to have been parked there for a while,” the report says.
Hadaway thought “Why is this car here? How did it get here? It’s an odd place for that type of vehicle,” he told KSLA News 12.
He had a dispatcher run the vehicle identification number. It came back as owned by the City of Shreveport.
“... however, it did not return stolen,” Hadaway wrote in his report.
A Shreveport police lieutenant called him at 10 that morning.
He “stated that it is one of their units and was possibly stolen sometime during the past two weeks, but they did not know it.”
Hadaway recalled the Shreveport police officer telling him that the car was used by supervisors and that “he was going to try to get a hold of a supervisor who normally drives that car.”
The vehicle’s headliner and carpet had been pulled up to expose the wiring, which was sticking out, Hadaway recalled.
Presumably, he said, this was done to aid in the removal of the light bar, if the vehicle had one.
That raises another question: How would that light bar be used?
No weapons were found in the car. And Hadaway does not recall seeing a gun lock or a cage, for that matter.
“It was looking like a bunch was stripped off of the car. If it had a light bar, it was gone.”
The car’s condition was such that Hadaway thought it might have been a former police car sold at auction.
However, the Shreveport police officer told him they normally take all the striping and other things off the car before that’s done.
Hadaway asked the officer whether they had done a headcount and found any inmates missing. The response was everyone was accounted for.
And when it came to moving the car, Hadaway told his people who came to pick it up to make sure there were no bodies in or under the car or thrown out in the bushes.
None was found.
KSLA News 12 has asked Shreveport police officials how one of their units worth thousands of taxpayer dollars turns up missing, when it was taken and why it never was reported as stolen.
Authorities have yet to answer those questions.