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Batteries being stolen from snow plowing equipment

ALBANY An alert for business owners who do any kind of construction work; thieves are stealing equipment from jobs sites and theyre breaking through locks and chains to do it. The thieves seem to be targeting snow plows and loaders left in commercial parking lots.  Local landscaping companies that plow in the winter are being hit and hit hard, particularly in Albany and Colonie. 

Pete Rossi owns Landscape Inc.  In the winter, his company plows most of the buildings around Platoon Creek in Albany.  A few storms back, at 4am, he and a few of his employees showed up to plow, we came during a storm, when we needed the equipment and we got in, turned the key and nothing... We go out and there's no batteries, he tells CBS6.  Thieves had stolen batteries from both of his loaders and that wasnt even the worst of it, we went, bought new batteries, we bought padlocks and clasps and went through the whole deal to secure them and came back, almost exactly a month later and it seems the weakest part of the clasp was broken off, not the lock and the batteries were gone again, he says. 

Rossi isnt the only one being hit.  Colonie Police tell CBS6 they are investigating three reported larcenies and another attempted larceny of a similar nature.  Those incidents took place in the Northway Mall parking lot along Central Avenue where 4 batteries valued at $1400 were stolen, the K-Mart parking lot along Troy-Schenectady Road where 1 battery was taken valued at $200, the S&G Trucking Parking Lot along Watervliet Shaker Road where 2 batteries valued at $300 were stolen.  The Wolf Road Shoppers parking lot was also targeted according to police but the suspects were scared off by a witness who observed them trying to take batteries.  

It is believed the thieves are stealing the batteries in order to sell them as scrap for cash, from what I hear, they're getting about 20 cents per pound for a battery which is maybe 40 pounds and we're out there paying $200 a piece for a brand new battery, Rossi says.  Its becoming quite an annoying and costly problem that local businesses are trying to combat with the help of local police.  We're at our wits end because we like to keep our equipment out of the way, back in the lot so we're not using up parking spots and I had to move my loaders closer to a camera so if they do come back, at least maybe we can get them on tape, Rossi tells CBS6. 

While Rossis is the only recent case reported in Albany, Colonie Police tells CBS6 they do have two suspects in their cases which are likely related to Rossis but no arrests have been made yet.

The Albany Police Department issued these suggestions for protecting construction equipment:

Always secure the worksite or premises when not occupied:
  • Erect perimeter fencing to prevent a thief from trespassing on the site.
  • Have a controlled access point to the site so you know who is entering and exiting at all times.
  • Secure a sites office trailers with strong locks. Placing grates or fencing over the windows may also prevent a thief from entering.
  • Consider hiring a security service, particularly during the off-hours to look over the site.
  • Place No Trespassing signs along the perimeter to deter potential thieves.
  • Consider cameras or closed circuit television to monitor the site.

Secure Individual Equipment:
  • Secure equipment with high security locks.
  • Utilize fuel caps with locking mechanisms to prevent a thief from stealing fuel.
  • Use mechanical tire locking devices to immobilize construction vehicles.
  • Consider alarm systems that disable equipment and/or sounds if an attempt to steal is made.
  • Remove tow hitches or trailer wheels to prevent a thief from stealing the trailer with equipment on it.
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