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Thieves target car batteries in Camarillo

With the pop of a car hood, a few tools and just five minutes, thieves can steal your car battery.

It’s a crime that detectives at the Ventura County Sheriffs Office and Camarillo police say is on the rise.

Since Sept. 6, officers have received nine reports of stolen car batteries, mainly in parking lots throughout Camarillo.

“Most people don’t lock their hoods, so they are entering the hoods through the wheel well of the car or through the front fender,” said Sargent Julie Novak.

Novak says thieves are targeting Toyota Corollas, Honda Accords and Civics built between 1995 and 2013.

Omar Becerra is the manager at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Camarillo. He says car battery sales at his shop have increased 25 percent in the past few weeks

“We did have an instance last week where a customer came in saying that her battery was stolen right out of the parking lot,” said Becerra. “She stepped into her business and she came back 15 minutes later and it was gone.”

The Sheriff’s Office released video of a vehicle linked to the crimes. It shows a red Kia Rio that has a white sticker on the rear passenger side.

Novak says thieves can turn around and sell a used battery for around $15 to $25, but it’s going to cost the victim a pretty penny. A new car battery can cost anywhere from $100 to $300.

Novak believes it’s not just one person targeting cars, but a crew of people.

If you have any information, you are urged to contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

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