NEW ULM - Thieves took an unusual, high-mobility all-terrain four-wheel drive vehicle for a ride, at least from Lafayette to New Ulm last weekend.
The Nicollet County Sheriff's Office reported a 1975 Pinzgauer 710M Swiss military utility vehicle stolen sometime last Friday night or early Saturday morning from Denny's Auto Service, Lafayette.
New Ulm Police reported the vehicle found behind Rader's Used Cars & Towing, 605 N. Front St. Sunday morning. The vehicle's owner, Kevin Kuester of Glencoe, traveled to New Ulm Tuesday afternoon to check on it's condition and determine how he would retrieve it.
Kuester looked the vehicle over and noticed a broken passenger-side exterior mirror and that the vehicle's engine smoked a bit after it was operated.
"I bought it near St. Cloud because it was so cool-looking, different," Kuester said. "It was built in Austria (by Styr-Diamler-Puch) for the Swiss military. It was bright yellow when I bought it. It can run in front, rear and all-wheel drive. I was getting it tuned up when it was stolen."
Kuester had the vehicle painted flat black and had a custom-made fabric top built for it in Colorado. "You can see some of what these vehicles can do on "You Tube," he added. "I've seen videos of them pulling out tractors stuck in the snow."
Pinzgauers were designed to carry up to 10 troops. Their air-cooled, gasoline engines had more than one oil pump so the engines won't run out of oil no matter how they are angled.
The vehicles are advertised as being particularly useful in fire rescue, off-road hunting and rock climbing. Armies from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Albania and Bolivia, in addition to Switzerland and Austria, use the Pinzgauers.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).