Thursday, February 2, 2012
Thieves take bus batteries
By SUE WATSON
The bus yard behind Donald Street’s Wrecker Service at 281 North Memphis Street in Holly Springs has been the visiting place of battery thieves.
The batteries out of a number of ICS Head Start buses were taken when thieves cut through a chain-link fence, after breaking away the exterior board fence that serves as a privacy fence.
Street said he lets ICS store its buses there at no charge and when a bus is out of service another stored on his lot is pulled into service. The big buses hold two batteries in a side panel and the smaller buses have one battery under the hood. Both types have been taken.
Street said he stores six to eight buses during the school year and more during the summer as a service to the school.
“It has been an ongoing problem but the first week of January was when the theft occurred,” Street said. “One suspect was caught and two suspects ran away. The one suspect denied knowledge of the two others.”
Street said he has no report of the disposition of the case against the 17-year-old who was identified as a suspect.
He said when thieves cut the battery cables the cost to replace and repair the damage is huge. A used battery brings about $12 at the scrap metal yard and a new one costs about $115, he said. The batteries are heavy-duty ones.
This is costing Head Start, he said.
As materials, such as old batteries and metals are bringing more at the scrap yards, Street said he has just about given up hope of maintaining his vehicle salvage business. It is too costly to guard the areas, he said.
He was working to get the hole in the chain-link fence repaired and another downed fence replaced at the bus yard, he said.
ICS transportation director Clen Moore said he was unaware of the theft and that Street contributes to an in-kind service to the agency. For every dollar spent by Head Start, 25 percent or a quarter has to be an in-kind match, he said. The storage of the buses by Street, then, is charged off as in-kind match to ICS.
Moore said the buses that are in service daily are parked overnight and on weekends at the drivers’ homes and there has been no problem of theft involving these buses.
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