Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are seeing a new trend in crime. It’s a crime of opportunity and one that only takes minutes to pull off.
Police say car batteries are being ripped from right under vehicles’ hoods.
Rufus Blackmon is tired of making trips to the auto parts store. “Well, I had to go buy two new batteries and pray they don’t do it again,” he said.
Thieves twice stole the batteries from cars parked in his driveway in northeast Charlotte. On a third attempt, the car alarm stopped them.
“What they did, they broke this window back here, and they opened the back door,” Blackmon says. “Once they get in, they popped the front door then popped the hood.”
Police Sgt. Ken Schul is handling several cases in which batteries were stolen.
“It’s real easy,” he said. “I think the public’s probably not aware that this type of crime is going on.”
In fact, police say, they’ve been seeing this more and more in recent months.
“It used to be a copper issue,” Schul says. “Copper prices have gone down and now recycling plants are seeing an uptick in batteries being brought to them. They can make from $20, depending on how large the battery is, to $2 to $3 a battery. You steal five or six a day, and you’re making $100.”
That’s why police say batteries are disappearing from cars parked at businesses, church parking lots and neighborhoods.
“It’s happening all over the city,” Schul says. “We’re getting complaints from all response areas.”
Police ask that anyone who sees someone nosing around a neighbor’s car to call 911.