Thieves target RV batteries

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Have a recreational vehicle parked in your driveway or next to your home? You might want to check that the battery is still there.

Local police agencies are dealing with a rash of battery thefts from RVs, such as motor homes and travel trailers, and construction equipment. Sheriff’s Sgt. Shane Gardner said at least 49 cases have come into the sheriff’s office and Vancouver Police Department over the past two weeks. Ten of those thefts occurred Thursday.

While the thefts are spread throughout the metro area, there have been concentrations in Salmon Creek, the St. Johns/Andresen area and the Fircrest neighborhood.

The thieves are cutting wires, rather than detaching the batteries, and may be selling the parts for scrap. With new RV batteries running upward of $500, the fiscal return is minimal — a few dollars for scrap metal.

Gardner advises RV owners to store batteries in a locked garage or install a metal box around batteries to secure them.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity — such as an unfamiliar person standing by an RV trailer or several RV batteries stowed in a truck bed — is asked to call 911. Snap a photo of a suspect vehicle, write down a license plate number and description, Gardner said.

If your battery is stolen, report it online with the Clark County Sheriff's Office or the Vancouver Police Department.