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Police Warn Thieves Are Targeting Hybrid Vehicle Batteries

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Police are warning drivers that thieves are targeting hybrid cars to steal the batteries right out of the back of the vehicles.

Thieves are getting more brazen, targeting cars like the Toyota Prius, and smashing through the back of the car to get what is essentially the car's engine, the battery from the back.

"We had a customer come in really upset because they had their hybrid battery stolen out of their vehicle and it can be quite an expense," said Cindy Shackleton at GreenTec Auto.

She says the costs to replace the battery can be staggering.

"Our batteries range anywhere from $1,100 to $2,900, depending on what battery you want and what battery you're interested in," she said.

The cost can be even more at dealerships.

Technician Andrey Mitrofanov says the process of taking the batteries out is not only time consuming for a criminal, but dangerous to an untrained one.

"Taking the battery out will take about 15 to 20 minutes, so that is the problem we are having with the theft of the batteries," he said. "These are high-voltage batteries, they have over 200 volts in there, so they can shock you and kill you."

Police recommend backing into car parking spots to make it more difficult, and to use anti-theft bolts that can secure the battery in place.

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