SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — A man fishing for crappie at Cheney Lake on Memorial Day found more than he bargained for. He found a Jeep more than 16 feet below the surface. The owner reported it stolen 33 years ago.
John Mounce calls himself a big-time crappie fisherman. He has all the newest, high-tech sonar gear, including a live scope.
On Monday, he was about 130 feet from the dam when he saw something on one of his monitors. He dropped down his live scope to get a better look.
“As soon as I put my live scope on it, I knew immediately it was a vehicle. I saw the tires and the fender wheels really clear,” Mounce said.
He also noticed a couple of crappie on the hood of the vehicle. So, he caught the fish first, then packed up and called the authorities about the Jeep.
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office deputies met Mounce at his house.
“They came and looked at some pictures, and they knew immediately,” he said.
Authorities began making arrangements to haul the Jeep out of the lake.
Mounce gave them the coordinates, and authorities set out to find the Jeep. But divers with the Sedgwick County Fire Department had trouble finding it in the dark and muddy water.
Mounce said they called him and asked him to return to the lake to help, so he did. But by the time he arrived, one of the divers found the vehicle.
“It was pretty cool. On my live scope, I got to watch them hook the chain up to the Jeep,” he said.
He said the vehicle is in bad shape. The front seats are still attached but were hanging over the side.
Mounce said a woman reached out to him about the vehicle. Her Jeep disappeared in 2007 or 2008, and she wondered if it was hers. But on Friday, a Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said investigators learned it was stolen in Wichita in 1990. We have reached out to the Wichita Police Department to get more information about the theft.
Mounce is just happy his fishing technology was useful in the recovery.
“Honestly, I’d like to see our fire and rescue have this kind of stuff,” he said. “Their stuff works, but it’s not going to give you the detail the newer stuff does.”
Cheney Lake Party Cove is a Facebook page that supports the lake. It posted about Mounce’s discovery.
“John Mounce was fishing along the dam today and caught himself a Jeep,” it said.
Both Cheney Lake Party Cove and John Mounce are getting a lot of funny comments about the find on their Facebook pages.