The camping season may be winding down in the Calgary area, but thieves are as busy as ever.
At Calgary West Campground, more than 100 batteries have been stolen from trailers since the Labour Day long weekend. Staff said thieves have been coming at night to take batteries from trailers being stored there for the winter.
“It’s not right,” said campground manager Mei Lam. “I know it’s easy money but it’s still not easy. The battery is so heavy.”
On Sept. 21, suspects were caught on camera carrying the batteries away in the early morning hours.
“It wasn’t happening in the summer,” Lam said. “It was happening on Labour Day long weekend and at least about 60 trailers were involved. And most of the trailers have two batteries. At least 120 batteries have been cut off and we recovered about 50 of them.”
Campground staff found piles of batteries stashed on their property, Lam added. She figures the culprits were waiting to come by to gather them later.
Police said the thefts are happening everywhere from construction sites to campgrounds to driveways in Calgary. Acting Sgt. Craig Stothard said that thieves are getting around $20 for a standard car battery and more for larger RV ones when they take them to scrap metal yards.
“We have seen a rise in campground break and enters where batteries have been taken from RVs, pretty much anywhere,” Stothard said. “They will take batteries from off people’s driveways if they can, from their motorhomes and cars, but we mainly see it on construction sites. Sometimes we will even see them taken from traffic signs.”
Police said they are in contact with metal recycling facilities that are keeping an eye out for suspicious deliveries of batteries.
“We do work with those places in our investigations and they will reach out to us as well if they see anything suspicious,” Stothard said. “They do record anyone who comes in and recycles copper or batteries and things like that. You have to show identification and often they take license plates down on vehicles that are selling items so we can follow up.”
Silver Springs resident Ray Crerar said his neighbour had his trailer battery stolen in May.
“RV batteries are very heavy and you can only take them to so many places and they’re expensive,” Crerar said. “They retail anywhere from $170 to $200 bucks for one battery and most people have two.”
Campground staff have installed more cameras and lighting, and are advising people to remove their batteries or install a lock bar over them.