GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – Thieves in Johnson County are making a quick buck off car owners.
More than 20 people in Greenwood have reported that their car batteries were stolen this month. Only six battery thefts were reported in town all of last year.
Police say a used battery will bring back $10-20 at a scrap shop. But it’s costing the victims a $100 or more just to replace them.
“All you had to do was unlatch both sides of these and then lift the hood up,” said Amanda Mullner as she pointed at her Jeep Wrangler.
But unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what somebody did in order to make money at her expense.
“I was extremely mad. I had places to go and it was a big inconvenience for me,” she said.
Mullner is one of 22 people in Greenwood whose car wouldn’t start this month. Not because of a dead battery, but a stolen one.
Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matthew Fillenwarth said the suspects are targeting people at apartment complexes. At least three thefts happened at Bexley Village Apartments, which is where Mullner lives.
The parking lots are full of cars that come and go often.
Fillenwarth said most residents don’t know if those driving around are neighbors or a potential thief.
“That’s why they’re able to get by with this in parking lots compared to a residential neighborhood because every neighborhood’s got that one neighbor that pays attention to whoever drives up and down the street,” he said.
Some of the victims had their hoods pried open. But police say most of them left their cars unlocked.
That makes it pretty easy for a criminal to get under the hood and steal the battery. So what’s the easiest way to prevent becoming a victim? Police say simply lock your car.
Mullner went a different route.
“We got locking latches right now, so you have to have a key to open them,” she said. Mullner said she bought the latches to prevent anyone else from opening her Jeep’s hood.
So what else can you do besides locking your car up?
Fillenwarth said car owners can buy an alarm. But he hopes the crimes make people keep an extra eye out in their parking lots, especially at night since that’s when most of the thefts are happening.