110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Jan 30, 2013 - 6:32:50am
On Jan. 19, an unlocked shed on Spring Garden Ranch Road in DeLeon Springs was burglarized.
The next day, two road signs on Interstate 4 were also burglarized.
The link between the two crimes? Batteries.
In the first case, someone went into Donald Halstrom’s unopened shed, and took six heavy-duty deep-cell batteries out of a golf cart. In the second case, 12 batteries were stolen from portable signs on the eastbound and westbound sides of I-4.
Halstrom is frustrated. The 78-year-old is tired of thieves stealing from his two properties in DeLeon Springs. Halstrom was glad to talk to a newspaper reporter about the situation.
“Anything that gets this out in the open is a good thing,” Halstrom said.
First, it was his brand- new motorcycle, stolen right from under the carport of his home in Orangewood Mobile Home Park. The thieves also cut the wires to his outdoor lights and helped themselves to two cans of fuel.
While stealing batteries, the intruder caused considerable damage to the golf cart, Halstrom said. He had purchased the cart to help his disabled wife get around the ranch.
“It’s the doggonedest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, these people stealing from a handicapped person,” Halstrom said.
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brandon Haught said portable goods with a resale value, such as metal and batteries, are frequently easy targets for thefts.
“When dealing with any type of metal, including batteries, if it’s easy to get to, they’ll steal it,” he said.
Removing a battery can take just a few seconds. Batteries generally have no serial numbers, which can make it a challenge to identify the property.
“It’s easy money,” Haught said.
A call to Makarios Scrap Metal in DeLand proved Haught’s point. Makarios pays 15 cents per pound for small batteries — like golf-cart batteries — and $9 per battery for car-sized batteries.
Haught suggested taking measures to lock up items, or otherwise securing batteries to make them harder to remove. Anything to make a theft more challenging and less tempting may help, he said.
“It might seem extreme to take measures like this, but they’re getting a few dollars per battery — buying a battery is pretty doggone expensive,” Haught said.
A local automotive-supply store revealed that the going price for an average car-sized battery is about $84. If you don’t have an old battery to trade in, $12 is added to the price.
A worker at the auto-parts store said the extra $12 core charge is added to discourage people from disposing of batteries improperly. The chemicals in batteries are considered hazardous waste, and the core charge is to encourage buyers to not toss old batteries in the trash.
Halstrom’s loss was estimated by the Sheriff’s Office at $1,200 — $900 for the six batteries and another $300 to repair the electrical cables and wires that were cut.
The value of the 12 batteries from the portable signs was estimated by the Sheriff’s Office at $600.
— Beacon intern Latesha Williamson contributed to this report.
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