Businesses report thefts of batteries from truck yards and warehouses

Vehicle batteries contain lead, which can be sold in scrap yards

DEWITT (WSYR-TV) - Over the past month, it appears complaints about missing vehicle batteries have picked up around East Molloy Road.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office and DeWitt Police have investigated separate cases and some arrests have been made.

But, businesses are still trying to recover from their losses.

"That empty pallet right there. That's where the original batteries were stolen," Bob Giardina says, pointing at an open spot in the Battery World Warehouse. "There were seven taken the first time. There were over 20 taken the second time."

Giardina, the business's president, says between $5,000-$7,000 worth of batteries and a few other items have been taken from his shop since mid-November.

"The problem is, that $7,000...the crooks are probably getting $700 in value for it," Giardina adds.

That's the profit he thinks they'll get on the street or in a scrap yard.

"In winter, people use more batteries so it becomes a commodity item. On top of that, batteries are made from lead. They are 80 percent lead and lead is a salable item in the scrap business," he explains.

When Giardina reinforced the back door of his warehouse to fend off intruders, he says big batteries were stolen right out of trucks in the yard behind his shop.

And he's not alone.

Shawn Salle works just down the road from Giardina and says some trucks were also targeted outside of Brown Carbonic on Kinne Street.

Workers were preparing to start their deliveries recently, but the trucks wouldn't start. 

Salle says it has happened more than once over the past month, disrupting business.

"If you add up all the batteries, it's about $1,100 worth," says Salle, a warehouse manager. "Then, it's the inconvenience of a driver trying to leave at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. in the morning and not being able to."

The losses don't stop there. Salle says $12,000 is in the budget for more security.

Giardina says he added cameras and other anti-theft devices to his shop too. Surveillance video did help detectives in at least one case.

Both managers say it isn't worth their time to file insurance claims because the deductibles are so high.

Even if the property is recovered, the real value of batteries can drop drastically.

"Similar to milk in a grocery store, they go bad," he explains. "They are a live product. If they are not taken care of, they will go bad and they will only have scrap value."

He's hoping awareness of the recent theft reports might save someone else a headache during the holidays.

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