Battery bandit strikes again

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Warren police said a battery bandit has struck again.

The battery thief first hit garbage trucks at Warren’s Environmental Services building on Main Street. Nine batteries were stolen between Tuesday and Wednesday.

A day later, 21 batteries and cables were taken from buses at the Trumbull County Action Program bus garage right next door, plus another eight from buses at Community Bus Services on Youngstown Road.

“Honestly over the summer, it doesn’t impact service. Our buses are not moving a whole lot. But if this was in the middle of the school year, it would have been detrimental to the special needs kids in Trumbull County that we service. We would have had four buses that wouldn’t have been able to go,” said Community Bus Services facility manager Joseph Richley.

Richley said the damage could have been a lot worse.

“They actually unbolted them from the bus. They unbolted them from the cables and pulled them out as gently as they could have,” he said.

Police believe all the stolen battery incidents as well as the theft of cast iron grates stolen from outside the Hope Center on nearby Surrey Avenue are related.

“It’s a crime of opportunity. The large volume of vehicles that are sitting there at any time, then you got that obviously this has happened in the hours of darkness,” said Warren Police Lt. Jeff Cole.

Warren police have issued an alert to area scrap yards to be on the lookout for the stolen items.

“We are finding it is for the lead content and the copper. We are checking with the scrap yards, kind of putting them on notice so if they get anything like that it’s probably related to our investigation,” Cole said.

At Cleveland Auto Wrecking, yard manager Ed Kunzer said they have been receiving alerts about battery thefts all over the county.

“Now the stuff you get in garbage trucks and dump trucks and stuff they are 100-pound batteries for 25 cents  a pound, you are looking at 25 bucks. You know, a guy needs money, he is in a pinch, they are going to grab that and run,” Kunzer said.

Police will be patrolling the garages more at night. All are already taking steps to increase lighting and security in their vehicle yards.

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