Vehicle battery thefts increase as lead prices rise - KCTV5

Vehicle battery thefts increase as lead prices rise

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Vandals are targeting cars and trucks all across the city.  However, they are not trying to steal them, instead going for the battery.

It is a crime police are saying is on the rise.

One could say Charley Goth, the manager at City Rent-A-Truck near East 46th Street and Virginia Avenue has seen better weeks.

"I was pretty ticked off at that point," Goth said.

Last Monday, someone broke into his lot, smashed more than a dozen truck windows and made off with 16 truck batteries.

Vandals struck a second time the very next day.  This time, another eight batteries were stolen with damages totaling $5,000.

"We've been here about 48 years. We've always had issues, but this is the worst we have had it in about five years," Goth said.

Even the city is feeling the pain.  In mid-November, someone stole 27 batteries from a fleet of cars at the city's Neighborhood Preservation Division facility off Swope Parkway.

With the increasing price of lead, the batteries can fetch up to $30 at local salvage yards.

"A couple guys come by wanting to sell them, and I say I'm going call the police, and they burn out," said Chris Collins who helps his dad run Little Will's Auto Salvage off Manchester Trafficway.

Collins has seen more and more people trying to sell used batteries.  He suspects most are stolen.  Now he is thinking about making some changes.

"We really don't check IDs, but I think we need to," he said.

Goth is hoping all salvage yards follow suit.  In the meantime, he is keeping a close eye out for a red truck the vandal used to haul away his batteries.

"I've spent a lot of personal time patrolling the lot here, because I am intent if he comes back, he is going to get caught.  I guarantee it," Goth said.

Goth has since hired around-the-clock security to keep an eye on his trucks.  He is hoping that will help deter would-be vandals.

There have been no arrests in either case.  If anyone has any information on the string of vandalism, they are urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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