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Arrests made in Clovis Comcast battery thefts

Monday, August 15, 2011

Clovis Police arrested two men for stealing dozens of batteries used to make emergency calls in case of a power outage. Fresno Police arrested another man in connection to the case Monday.

The cable company that provides the batteries -- says replacing one can cost up to $3,500 apiece.

Well authorities are crediting an alert citizen in Clovis that helped catch the suspects. They're at the jail accused to stealing nearly a $100,000 worth of batteries and catalytic converters. Investigators say they had planned to sell them for a profit out on the street.

Clovis Police arrested 31-year-old Arturo Hernandez and 28-year-old Aoreliano Lopez Sunday afternoon for stealing batteries from Comcast cable utility boxes in Clovis Sunday.

Police say a witness saw two of the suspects, Hernandez and Lopez in the area of Gettysburg and Fowler. One was acting as a lookout. The other one was physically taking out one of the industrial batteries and when a police officer arrived, the two had already moved to a different location. The officer eventually caught up to the two men.

The cable and phone company says the stolen batteries look similar to the one shown here in this photo. A regional vice president told Action News over the phone these batteries cost about $3,000 to replace. He says if they're stolen and a power outage occurs there could be massive problems for nearby residents.

"This equipment is stolen from our facilities, I mean it could potentially negatively impact phone service so they won't be able to pick up the phone and dial 911." said Andrew Johnson, Vice President of Comcast -- Northern California.

Sunday's arrest resulted in a search warrant served at a home in Southwest Fresno. Fresno Police put another man into custody for having 38 Comcast batteries and 65 stolen catalytic converters at the scene. We're told the catalytic converters were part of a separate scheme. But both were intended for one thing.

"From what we understand they're selling them. Now these are industrial batteries. We're looking at RV boat, type batteries." said Clovis Police spokesperson Janet Stoll-Lee.

Investigators say the suspects tried to sell these batteries for 150 bucks out on the street. Comcast officials say some of their batteries have even been recovered across the country. And unfortunately Fresno County isn't the only region in the state where they're seeing a theft problem.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno county, clovis, crimetracker, theft, clovis police department, fresno police department, local, tommy tran
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