Several arrested for rash of stolen car batteries

INDIANAPOLIS - An anonymous phone call and a quick police response led to the arrests of seven people for the thefts of dozens of car batteries this week.

The suspects were arrested Monday morning just outside an auto salvage yard on the city’s southwest side.

Battery thefts have plagued auto salvage yards, cartage companies and companies with large fleets of trucks, because those vehicles usually contain three batteries. The thefts are common, and catching someone in the act is rare.

Of the seven individuals arrested Monday morning by police, four were family members. The suspects range in age from 14 years old to 21. More than half of them aren't old enough to drive, let alone steal a car battery.

As many as 50 car batteries were stolen over the weekend from Two Little Bee's auto salvage yard in the 500 block of South Tibbs Avenue. Company officials say the problem has plagued this business and this industry for years.

Southwest district detectives have been inundated with the theft of batteries. Still under investigation, the theft of nearly 50 batteries idled as many as 16 buses in the Decatur Township school district. Police call it a problem on the heavily industrialized southwest side.

"Since we have a large number of businesses like that on the southwest district, it's a problem for us that might not be a problem for the other districts that don't have these kinds of businesses on them,” IMPD southwest district officer Steve Watts said.

Metro police said the seven suspects stole the batteries over the weekend and returned Monday morning to pick them up. One of the young men dropped his stocking cap at the scene of the crime.

Police believe thieves are taking the batteries outside Indianapolis, if not out of state, where tough laws governing the sale of salvage do not exist. 

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