Nature of Incident: Malicious Destruction of Property
Incident #: 23-011168
Date & Time: The incident was reported on 11/12/2023 at 1412hrs. Unknown when the incident took place.
Location: 49000 block of 24th Ave in Columbia Twp. Lower Jeptha Lake. County of Van Buren
Assisting Agencies: Van Buren County Dive Team, Mike’s Towing
Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that on 11/12/2023 at 1412hrs Deputies responded to the 49000 block of 24th ave on Lower Jeptha Lake for a call about a tractor/excavator in the lake. The vacation property is owned by a family out of Illinois. When they are not visiting their property, they have neighbors periodically checking in on it. On 11/12/2023 the neighbor arrived on scene and immediately noticed damage to the property and an excavator in the lake. They immediately called for police assistance. Upon the Deputies arrival, they noticed several things damaged besides the heavy machinery in the lake. The Van Buren County Dive team and Mike’s Towing out of Bangor, were called out to assist in the recovery of the excavator. Dive team members and the tow service were able to recover the excavator without incident. Once the piece of equipment was removed from the lake, Deputies investigated how/why the excavator ended up in the lake. Deputies found that the gas pedal was forced down with a brick and it was purposely driven into the lake.
At this time there are no suspects linked to the vandalism on Lower Jeptha Lake. The Sheriff’s Office is requesting the assistance of the public to help in the investigation. If anyone saw or has any information in reference to this case, please reach out to the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office.