Police See an Increase in Thefts of Machines that Control Traffic
Police have told us about theft dealing with copper and other scrap metal.
Now, batteries from solar panel school zone lights are being reported stolen.
We met up with investigator Joe Baeza who explains more.
Suspects are now stealing the batteries inside the control boxes which are located right on the traffic beacon. That alert drivers to low water crossings and their speed levels.
"It's a very unique crime. We hadn't seen these before."
Baeza showed us where a thief broke into this box located on Jacaman Rd. The detectives say it appears the suspects use a sharp object to break in.
"And they're stealing the batteries, rendering the light useless."
He says the thieves are most likely selling them to recycling centers or re-selling them somewhere. Detectives have been to a few of the locations to see if they have been sold.
Baeza says there have been seven of these type of thefts in the past month.
"They're there for a reason. They're there to keep the community safe, especially with them being placed around school zones."
He goes on to say the city of Laredo pays for these batteries which retail between $200 and $250. Which means the taxpayers are essentially the ones paying for these beacons.