Hagerstown Police Department officials are warning local residents about an emerging trend of batteries being stolen from vehicles.
Vehicle batteries have value even when they have lost their charge because they can be sold to recycling centers and scrap yards for their internal components, according to a news release from police.
Police started noticing the thefts about a year ago, said Hagerstown Police Chief Mark Holtzman.
“It has recently popped up again,” Holtzman said.
Car repair shops where hoods on cars are sometimes left unlatched are sometimes targeted, Holtzman said.
Recreational vehicle businesses and places where commercial vehicles are parked for long periods of time are also targeted, Holtzman said.
Batteries are also used in other operations, such as in railroad crossing mechanisms, Holtzman said.
Holtzman said there have not been problems with automobile hoods being damaged to reach batteries.
Holtzman encouraged people to look out for suspicious behavior to help reduce the thefts. Vehicle batteries are heavy and if a number of them are stolen at one time, witnesses might see vehicles driving around the rear of buildings to pick them up, Holtzman said.
Police are urging people to take extra safeguards when storing and securing new and used vehicle batteries.
Anyone with information about battery thefts or other types of crimes can provide information at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 301-790-3700.