Crimetracker - Battery Thefts

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Your car won’t start. The battery isn’t dead; it’s gone, stolen. It’s the latest crime trend Wichita law detectives are battling. In the last few weeks, three local businesses lost almost 100 truck batteries.

Chem Station is south Wichita uses their trucks to deliver soap and degreasers to its customers. But three weeks ago, the small business was stopped in its tracks.

"We were dispatching our drivers and discovered our batteries were gone along with our neighbors on this side and our neighbors on that side," said Kevin Lage of Chem Station.

In one night, thieves stole nearly 100 truck batteries from three businesses along a strip on South Edwards. It’s a crime that’s becoming all too familiar to police and sheriff’s deputies.

"You'll see a larger number coming from bigger batteries from semis, construction vehicles, skid loaders,” said Wichita Police Detective Joseph Kennedy. “They weigh more, so they get more money."

The crooks are cashing the stolen batteries in at scrap or recycling places. They get anywhere from $10 to $18 a piece.

"If it comes in and the cables are cut, ends are still attached, then we see if we get calls,” said Aron Haynes of Allpak Battery. “We work with city to catch these guys"

He says the guys who stole Chem Station batteries brought them in. Police came and arrested one suspect, but had to let him go, because detectives didn’t have enough evidence to link him to the theft.

In the meantime, Chem Station paid out $1000 to get new batteries and apologized to its customers for being late that day.

"It's just frustrating,” Lage said. “If people would go get a job, the rest of us wouldn't have to go through something like this."

Police and recycling stores say mark your batteries with a serial number. That way, if it is stolen and it's recovered at one of these stores, you can positively identify it.

If there’s crime happening in your neighborhood that you’d like us to feature in Crimetracker, go to kake.com/crimetracker to submit a story, track crime in your neighborhood and learn prevention tips.


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