Thieves steal batteries from cell phone towers

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ENID, Okla. -- Enid police are looking for the people who allegedly stole batteries from two different cell phone towers in town.

 The crime has actually happened three times over the last several months.

The first one happened back in March at a cell phone tower in the 700 block of S. Harding; 16 batteries were stolen.

 “The very first incident back in March, it appeared that they actually did drill the locks,” said Captain Jack Morris with the Enid Police Department.

 Then in April, a cell phone tower at the 3000 block of E. Randolph was hit and the same items were taken, 16 batteries.

 And again in May, the same tower on E. Randolph was burglarized again with another 16 batteries being taken.

 “They were able to gain access inside the fenced area, drill the locks to the battery bay and remove the 16 batteries from the cell phone tower,” said Capt. Morris.

 The theft did not affect service; these are backup batteries in the case of a power outage. But according to the reports, they weigh 126 pounds seach.

 “It appears to me they would maybe take them to a scrap yard.  They do contain lead and try to sell them for the lead,” said Capt. Morris.

Enid police track scrap metal sales and so far, they have not come across anyone trying to sell these kind of batteries.

They’re looking at the possibility that the same person committed all three crimes and possibly someone with knowledge of cell phone towers.

 “It is assigned to an investigator here to contact Sprint, get a list of employees and just find out, make sure they don’t have any issues with anybody they could suspect,” said Capt. Morris.

Not too long ago, there was a county wide problem with thieves damaging cell phone towers to get the copper wiring.

This is a new twist and police say they plan to work with the cell phone companies on better ways to catch these crooks.

 A Sprint representative tells NewsChannel 4 they are currently testing a battery theft deterrent system.

Sixteen batteries are worth several thousand dollars to the company, but the thieves would probably only get about $40 each for them at a scrap metal yard.

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