Print Metal, battery thefts surface
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Thursday, 18 August 2011 03:00

The Camp Verde Marshal’s Office is investigating a recent rash of scrap metal and battery thefts around the town.

“We’ve been seeing this over the last few years,” CVMO Lt. Earl Huff said. “It’s sporadic, but all of a sudden we’ve had a bunch.”

Thieves recently hit a variety of targets, Huff said, including the Camp Verde Unified School District bus barn, the Yavapai County transfer yard on State Route 260 and a golf cart dealer next to the White Bridge.

Gerren Wood, the owner of a golf cart shop in Camp Verde, describes Thursday, Aug. 11, the effort put forth by thieves who walked off with approximately 50 batteries around July 20. Scrap metal theft has been on the rise around Camp Verde according to the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office.At the transfer yard, the thieves took a couple of dozen old and broken air conditioning units. Police reports estimate the value of the metal at around a couple of hundred dollars.

At the golf cart dealership down by the Verde River, the thieves put in a lot of work. Owner Gerren Wood said someone came onto his property in late July and stole around 50 batteries, along with a welder and a trailer, presumably to use for hauling off the heavy items.

The trailer was later recovered by General Crook Trail, but Wood said he figured the batteries have long since been sold.

The value of the batteries is in their cores, Wood said, where lead and other materials can bring in cash from less-than-reputable dealers. Some of the batteries were brand new, so Wood said he figures whoever might have paid for them would have known they were likely stolen.

“People come in here all the time asking to buy old batteries for a few bucks,” Wood said.

Wood turns them away because when he obtains new batteries, he has to turn in the cores from the old batteries.

“They were out lifting batteries that weigh 60 pounds or more,” Wood said. “I have to say I’m impressed at the effort it took.”

Wood said law enforcement advised him to use an old cattle tradition and “brand” his batteries with a distinguishing mark to make them harder to sell in the event that they are ever stolen.

In the meantime, Wood said he’ll be keeping a closer eye on people coming around asking about batteries.

“It’s the economy,” Wood said. “That’s why people are out there stealing this stuff trying to make a buck. We’ve been here 20 years and never had this kind of problem.”

Huff said the marshal’s office is investigating leads in the case. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office at 567-6621 or Yavapai Silent Witness at (800) 932-3232. Calls to Silent Witness are anonymous and could result in a reward if a suspect is caught.