December 22, 2014

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Lorain mayor’s SUV stolen, recovered

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer

LORAIN — They say bad things happen to good people.

And to those in high places.

Just ask Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, who woke up Saturday morning to find his 2012 Buick Enclave gone from his Garfield Boulevard driveway.

“It’s one of the worst feelings you could have,” Ritenauer said upon realizing his vehicle was missing. “It just shows no one is immune.”

On the plus side, the mayor’s headache didn’t last long.

“I was just getting ready to call Onstar to have them locate it (via a satellite tracking system) when I called dispatch for a (police) report number and they told me they had already found it,” Ritenauer said. “It ended as good as possible.”

The Enclave was found about a mile away from Ritenauer’s home in a driveway of another Garfield Boulevard residence near the city’s senior center at 3361 Garfield Blvd.

The SUV, Ritenauer’s personal vehicle, was undamaged.

Though ransacked, the only item that appeared to be missing from it was some change.

“I guess someone just went on a little bit of a ride,” Ritenauer said.

Because he has been battling flu-like symptoms the past few days, Ritenauer said he couldn’t clearly recall whether he had locked the vehicle the night before.

The Enclave would normally be secured inside his garage, but Ritenauer was forced to leave the vehicle outside because he was spray-painting and redoing dining room chairs in preparation to move and was temporarily storing the chairs inside the garage.

Ritenauer theorized whoever took the vehicle found an ignition key he keeps hidden inside the Enclave.

The mayor leased the Enclave after being elected mayor in November 2011.

“I had a Pontiac G6, but after I took office I figured I needed something more spacious and nice to take people around the city and that sort of thing,” Ritenauer said.

He was clearly relieved nothing seemed to be missing from the Enclave but some loose change.

“I had mail and some paperwork in there…nothing important…along with my golf clubs and cell phone charger and some candy, and it was all there,” Ritenauer said.

From now on, the mayor insists he’ll double- and triple-check that all of the doors on his SUV are indeed locked.

Lorain police Lt. Roger Watkins said fingerprints were taken from Ritenauer’s vehicle.

“We’ll wait and see if they turn up anything,” Watkins said.

Watkins said he was not aware of any similar incidents occurring in the area overnight Friday.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.