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The Cadillac Caper

Apr 4, 2012

We had a good laugh after reading a story in the March 27 edition of the Wessington Springs True Dakotan. They learned about the incident in the Plankinton South Dakota Mail, and now we’re retelling the tale to you.

It’s said that criminals often return to the scene of their crime. That was true on March 9th, when the Aurora County Courthouse in Plankinton was the scene of a brazen daytime theft. Larry Unruh had parked his red Cadillac out front while he took care of some official business inside. When he left the building, the Cadillac had disappeared. 

Luckily, Deputy Preston Crissey was on the scene. He sprang into action, running upstairs to the Sheriff’s Office to issue a stolen car bulletin and alert the Highway Patrol, then back out to patrol the streets of Plankinton and track down the culprit.

Mr. Unruh headed up to the Sheriff’s Office to make a report of his own. When questioned by Sheriff David Fink, Unruh reported that the vehicle was full of gas and his girlfriend’s purse was inside, full of money.

“While the investigation continued, Sheriff Fink looked out the courthouse window to the north and surprisingly saw a vehicle fitting that description traveling east very slowly on Fifth Street,” read the South Dakota Mail report. 

Unruh looked out the window. Yes, it was the missing Cadillac…and it was pulling back in to the courthouse parking lot. The two men went into the Clerk of Courts office to get a better view from their window.

Two figures got out of the pilfered Caddy. The getaway driver was a young high school girl. Her passenger was a man with a clipboard — driver’s license examiner Dale Steffen. 

“According to Sheriff Fink, the young girl’s parents dropped her off for her driver’s test and drove away. Not knowing this, Mr. Steffen believed that was the family’s vehicle, while the nervous young driver assumed it was the test vehicle.” 

“Mr. Unruh told Sheriff Fink, ‘I’m not pressing charges!’” said the Mail

We hope that the teasing has died down in Plankinton for all parties involved. Thanks to the South Dakota Mail and the Wessington Springs True Dakotan for sharing the story.


02:23 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
Chuck Point said:
Only in South Dakota. Great story, the high point of my day so far. Thanks.
06:07 pm - Wed, April 4 2012
*Just Fran* said:
This is classic. Thanks for sharing.
06:24 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Joan Brown said:
06:25 am - Thu, April 5 2012
June Ohm said:
Wonderfully funny! I can see it happening.
07:21 am - Thu, April 5 2012
That is awesome. I can completely see that happening, especially when I got my motorcycle stolen at the Sioux Falls courthouse once. And by stolen I mean someone parked in front of it, blocking my view of it.
08:37 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Sheryl Monfore said:
This is funny!
09:38 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Joanie Auch said:
Only in South Dakota. I can't wait to get the magazine...I will have to clip this story out and mail it to my daughter and family in San Diego.
10:13 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Laura said:
I love your story, Devon.

Joanie - You'll have to forward the link or print it off and mail it to your family — this one's a web-only story.
08:42 pm - Thu, April 5 2012
Roy Lindsay said:
We had a customers car in Madison that disappeared from a local car lot and the car was gone for over a week. It returned one day driven by a young person checking to see if her father's car was repaired and ready to be picked up. They thought it was a loaner vehicle when they took it home the week before and had been driving it around in a neighboring town.
12:23 pm - Wed, April 11 2012
Heidi said:
This happened to my Grandma's car one time. It came back with its oil changed and rotated tires! The local mechanic thought it was someone else's car that he was supposed to pick up to service that day.

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