Thieves targeting RV and trailer batteries in North Bend

NORTH BEND, Ore.-- A national crime trend is now happening in North Bend, and police say if you own a trailer or an RV, you should be on the lookout for theives.

North Bend Police Detective Jon Bohanan tells KCBY that thieves have stolen nearly 100 RV batteries from trailer owners in the middle of the night.

"The thefts continued through the summer, and we've had a recently as two week ago another battery theft," Bohanan said. "We've seen batteries stolen from both RVs and utility trailers."

Bohanan said the thefts occur when people are asleep inside their homes and their trailers are parked and stored outside at night. Thieves break open the battery protector box and take the battery from inside.

But battery thefts are also being reported in Coos Bay.

"We've had several people recently claim their batteries had been stolen," Eric Porter, with Porter's RV in Coos Bay said.

Porter said customers have come to him looking for solutions to protect their property in the future.

But this isn't just happening in the bay area, it is a national trend that is impacting this long-standing industry for the first time.

According to police reports from across the nation, thieves are taking the batteries and breaking them open for the lead inside. The price of lead has doubled nationwide, and thieves believe they can break open the battery, wash off the acid and sell the lead for a profit.

Porter said the industry has never faced thefts like this before, and he said the industry is now playing catch-up when it comes to creating security features to protect trailer and RV batteries.

Until new battery locks hit the market, Porter said the best thing to do is that disconnect the battery and bring inside a locked structure.

"If your RV is in storage, and you don't need any of the 12 volt appliances to run while its in storage, definitely the best thing to do would be just disconnect your batteries and put them in a locked location," Porter said.

The black plastic battery box that is commonly used to protect batteries from the weather is not mean to deter theives, Porter said. However, locks for the box that attach to the trailer are expected to hit the market in the next few weeks.