Battery thefts have increased over the past few weeks, an ironic result of a new Georgia law aimed at stopping metal theft.
Richmond County sheriff’s Investigator Kendall Brown put out a warning at the end of June, before the new law took effect July 1. Because it allowed recyclers to pay cash on the spot for batteries and aluminum cans, Brown predicted battery thefts would increase, which he said has happened over the past month. The law requires recyclers to pay for all other metals with a check.
“A lot of these metal thieves are looking to feed their drug habit,” Brown said. “By making them cash a check, it is easier for law enforcement to follow the paper trail.”
Brown said he has received reports of battery thefts at homes and businesses, especially car lots and automotive repair shops. He said thieves are breaking into everything from cars to dump trucks – even farm equipment.
“Unfortunately the new metal theft law … does not regulate batteries, making it difficult to catch the thieves responsible,” Brown said in a news release.
He offered some preventative tips, saying batteries can be engraved with identifying marks or written on with paint pens. He also recommended coloring batteries with neon paint, which can deter thieves and helps law enforcement identify stolen property when it turns up at recycling centers.