Arrest made in bus battery thefts at Wake County school
Posted July 17, 2013
Updated July 18, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh police have made an arrest in connection with the theft of dozens of batteries, worth $7,300, from school buses parked overnight at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School.
Raleigh police said Wednesday that the 61 batteries, each weighing approximately 50 pounds, were taken from 20 buses between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, when a maintenance worker discovered the thefts and alerted police.
The arrest came Wednesday afternoon after a scrap dealer alerted police when a man tried selling 17 batteries similar to photos that investigators sent out in an alert earlier in the day.
Harvey Uras Jones, 31, of 2616 Holiday Drive, Raleigh, faces one count each of possession of stolen goods and attempted obtaining property by false pretense.
A WRAL News crew was present at the school Wednesday afternoon when police returned the batteries.
Renee McCoy, a spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System, said there were some delays Wednesday morning in getting year-round students to school and said the problem would have been much worse had the crime happened during the traditional school year.
"It's an unfortunate day that someone would see fit to remove batteries from the buses that primarily are the means of getting kids to school," she said. "We just don't understand that."
The batteries, which retail for about $120 each, can be sold for scrap metal for about 25 cents per pound, meaning those stolen from the school system would bring in about $762. Man charged in school bus battery thefts
McCoy said the school system was able to replace the batteries for $63 each by purchasing them in bulk.
Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said it wasn't clear if more than one person was involved in the thefts.
Anyone with information about the missing batteries should call the Raleigh Police Department at 919-829-1911 or Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.
Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for tips that help solve cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.