Several Members Of Battery Theft Ring Now Behind Bars


Michael Cramer has worked at this drywall business for 35 years but says this is the first year he's been targeted by thieves.  

On October 17, Cramer discovered someone made off with 15 industrial batteries worth about $2,000.

“They left the bolts.  They unscrewed them, took the batteries out, and left the bolts sit right there,” said Cramer.

Three people are behind bars for the crimes. Investigators say Jeremy May stole the batteries.  They think Lauren Mann and Michael Starkey scrapped them for about $10-$15 each.

Investigators say shortly after 10TV reported the arrests, more businesses came forward. Police connected the dots and say they've now identified at least 23 victims in seven communities with a combined loss totaling nearly $27,000.

Police say some victims lost more than batteries - they lost a day's work.

“An entire fleet was down for a day.  Now, when you look at the economic impact of that on that company, and you look at the individuals who couldn't work that day and the economic impact on that family, that's huge,” said Chief Joe Morbitzer, Westerville PD.

Police say the investigation has led to the discovery of a second theft ring operating in southern Franklin County that is also targeting industrial batteries.