Just like she would any other morning, Katie Greenhouse got into her car, put in the key and turned it.
That day, the car sat silent, and then she noticed her hood was slightly ajar and a business card from the Greenwood Police Department had been stuck under the hood.
Greenhouse was one of four residents in the Sandstone Court Apartments whose vehicle batteries were stolen this month, leaving them without transportation and forcing them to spend $100 on a new battery.
So far this month, police have been called to 22 reports of vehicle batteries stolen, after six were filed in January, according to data from the Greenwood Police Department.
That’s compared with two reports of batteries stolen during the last six months of 2013.
All of the thefts have been in apartment complexes at night, Greenwood assistant police chief Matt Fillenwarth said.
Police believe that more than one person is committing the thefts and that the same group likely is responsible for all of the thefts.
The batteries are likely being sold, as lead prices have increased recently, Fillenwarth said.
The number of vehicle
battery thefts reported in Greenwood during the
last six months of 2013
Vehicle batteries stolen from the Sandstone Court
Apartments this month
Vehicle batteries stolen in Greenwood during January
Golf cart batteries stolen earlier this year from the 600 block of Sheek Road in Greenwood
Vehicle batteries stolen in Greenwood so far this month
Items often are stolen either to use to make drugs or to sell for money to buy drugs, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.
“If you ask me, almost any theft is revolved around drugs,” he said.
Other nearby communities have had few if any reports. Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan said vehicle battery thefts are not a widespread problem.
The sheriff’s office gets a few reports of batteries stolen from farm machinery during planting and harvesting seasons. Cox has not seen a surge in vehicle battery theft — yet.
“We will have that problem at some point,” Cox said. “Anything that starts in Indianapolis usually gets out here.”
Police advise people to lock their cars to deter theft, but Greenhouse said one of her car door locks was broken at the time, which is how thieves likely gained entry.
All of the thefts have been on vehicles that were unlocked, Fillenwarth said.
The thieves are going to apartment complexes due to the large number of cars in one place, Fillenwarth said.
“With apartment complexes you have a transient community, so you don’t necessarily know who belongs in that complex,” he added. “It will take someone to see a suspicious person going through the complex, probably on foot trying to open door handles.”