Brewerton (WSYR-TV) -- Thieves in Oswego County are doing some heavy lifting, stealing dozens of industrial batteries from area businesses.
State Police say they’re a hot commodity in scrap yards and investigators have seen a spike in cases over the past couple of weeks.
Brewerton Speedway is still paying to replace their equipment. Up to four batteries are used in some trucks and they cost around $150 each.
General Manager Harvey Fink noticed something unusual when he checked on the track in mid-August.
"There was the battery cable on the ground, minus....the truck had no batteries in it. So we started looking and went to one truck, to another piece of equipment, to another truck and there were no batteries,” Fink told NewsChannel 9.
The next day, Harvey was told construction equipment parked at the Fulton Speedway was also targeted. Soon, police reports were filed in the Towns of Scriba and Volney, where Cory Murray's crew at The Northern Group couldn't figure out why their trucks suddenly wouldn't start one day.
"Popped the hood and they saw the battery was missing and the cables and all the bolts to put that battery in place were just sitting there in a pile,” Murray said.
Altogether, police say nearly 100 industrial batteries have been reported stolen across Oswego County in the past few weeks.
State Police spokesperson Jack Keller says, “It appears that a lot of the individuals who return batteries to recycling places make good money for it. So they turn them in and it is paying by the pound. So, that pound, it adds up, and after awhile, just like copper thefts, we're seeing a rash of battery thefts."
Murray can't afford to replace all the batteries right away. With lost deposits and time wasted for labor, his company's loss could total $5,000.
"It is a business expense and we have insurance in place and hope that that can take care of some of the burden, but at this point, we just don't know,” Murray continued.
With fair warning, there's hope other shops can protect their assets.
"We know times are tough. When you have to resort to this, it’s sad,” Fink said.
There could be one more expense for these businesses. Everyone NewsChannel 9 spoke to said they may add more surveillance equipment so they can catch the culprits if it happens again.