IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- School leaders in Ironton and city police are trying to figure out who is responsible for removing 14 batteries from school buses.
The thefts happened sometime overnight, Sunday into Monday. A bus driver noticed what happened about 6 a.m.
Maintenance crews worked quickly to get the school buses back up and running. The thefts forced the district to operate on a two-hour delay.
The vandals did not have to break into any kind of garage or fence to get through, but according to school officials there are images captured on surveillance video.
According to Captain Joe Ross at the Ironton Police Department the cost of the school damage is $2,500.
Captain Ross and Chief Dan Johnson say that car battery thefts have been quite common over the last few months in the city. More than 35 reports have been taken.
"There is stuff inside the batteries, there is lead and these places are taking the lead out and these places are buying the batteries for $12 to $15, especially the industrial size batteries," Captain Ross said.
What can you do to stop the thieves? The chief says if they truly want to get to your battery they will break the car window.
"Most vehicles you can't open the hood unless you get inside the vehicle so if they are locked there is one (piece of) preventative maintenance right there."
Clayton Bryant at Gold Street Muffler was able to show that a battery theft can take just seconds.
"Probably about 6-7 seconds," Bryant explained. "Probably ten raising the hood and all."
Bryant says that if the battery is in the proper hold down it won't be able to prevent someone from getting it out but it will slow them down. He suggests asking a professional to make sure it is properly locked into place.
Not only is the process fast areas with several vehicles are targeted, "it's where they can get the most in the shortest amount of time."
The bus yard was a prime target.
The school superintendent, William Nance, says the importance of these school buses goes beyond the school day. The buses are used in case of a natural disaster or homeland security issue.
Superintendent Nance says that the people responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.