Battery Thief

Someone in my neighborhood is stealing car batteries. I have a 99 corolla and my car was hit twice in the past week while parked on the street I live on. The thief broke my vent window, unlocked my doors, popped the hood, cut my battery terminals and the bracket that holds it down and stole the battery. I have since been taking the battery out of the car when I park it and bringing it inside.

My question - does anyone have any creative suggestions for battery theft prevention or booby trapping the car to catch the guy? I am looking into a hoodlock that locks the hood to the car frame and you need a key to open it. I’ve also heard of spray painting the battery a bright color and writing STOLEN on it to deter the thief from trying to sell the battery. What do thieves do with the batteries? Sell them? To who?

Any help is appreciated, thank you

they are maybe selling them as cores or junk batteries for the lead in them. are you able dto park in a more secure area?

If they are willing to physically break onto the car to get to the hood release, there is not much you can do but maybe a good, obnoxiously loud car alarm. Or, maybe chain the battery down under the hood. I’ve seen a hood latch with a key lock, but that requires drilling holes and getting the brackets aligned just right to make it work. It was at JC Whitney, and it included a switch to disable the ignition when locked. Never bought one, but looked interesting.

If this keeps happening in the neighborhood maybe you can organize a lookout group to catch this guy in the act.


Here’s an idea . . .

Take the battery out overnight

But leave the hood open

That way, at least the thief won’t break your window

Of course, the only other solution is catching the thief in the act, and beating him senseless

But if he’s armed, or bigger than you . . .

I presume to police have no interest in catching this guy?

You want to do two things. Hang onto your battery, but also keep the guy from smashing his way into the car. Not sure about you car’s layout, but I’ve known a cable and padlock to be able to hold down a hood, even if popped open with the inside release. But you’ll need to make it very visible from outside, so the thief moves on BEFORE he smashes your window again.
You could try a note in your window saying that the battery has been etched with a trackable ID number?

Just put a BIG sign, “Battery Removed”. They won’t waste their time if they think nothing is in there.

“Just put a BIG sign, “Battery Removed”. They won’t waste their time if they think nothing is in there.”

This brings to mind the era of the '70s & '80s in NYC, when owners of BMW & Mercedes cars would return to their vehicle only to find a broken window and a missing radio. These incidents were so numerous in those days that the local joke was that BMW stood for, “Break My Window”.

In the long run, the only practical solution for those who insisted on parking their foreign luxury cars on the street was a large sign on the top of the dashboard that stated, “RADIO REMOVED”.

The only thing I can think of is parking the car so front butts up against a wall, the back of another car or side of a house, making it real hard to open the latch. If not, I would put a sturdy rat trap or two under the front bumper beneath the latch.

How about just catching the thief? If its that regular it shouldn’t be hard. Game camera to get the picture for police, or even organize over-night watches to catch the guy. They sell them to the junk yards for 5 or 10 bucks so check with the local salvage yards too.

I would lay in wait inside the car with a shotgun. one blast of birdshot to the rear does wonders.

I would wire up a switch under the hood so when the hood is popped it grounds the horn relay. I would also add a secondary hood latch.

Could you imagine the thief trying to get the hood open while the horn is blaring not knowing where the secondary latch is?

Of course you’ll need another switch hidden inside the vehicle to disable this system.


“I would lay in wait inside the car with a shotgun. one blast of birdshot to the rear does wonders.”

That is really great advice. (sarcasm intentional)

The innocent bystander walking his dog–and/or other innocent bystanders–might disagree with your suggestion about opening fire on the street with a shotgun.
Have you thought about the reality that you could well be shooting and wounding people who have absolutely no connection to this petit theft issue?

Hopefully you meant your suggestion only facetiously.
Otherwise, I REALLY have to question your judgment.
Even in states with Stand Your Ground laws, I don’t think that you have the right to fire a shotgun in the street when you are not personally being threatened with bodily harm.

Tester, you can do that. Send a schematic to OP. I like the game camera too. They are relatively cheap and easy to set up. Have any trees around ? How about both ! Shooting people while lying in wait could cost the shooter lots of inconvenience later that just isn’t worth it.

Trade for an 09 or possibly earlier Chevrolet Cobalt. The battery is in the trunk.

Can you install a motion sensor on a nearby building or tree to light your parking area? Otherwise an electrician or someone handy with electricity can fasten one to a junction box powered with an electrical cord and wall plug.

I have a pair of FRS radios with a VOX feature. That means that the FRS radio will transmit to the other on the same channel when it hears sound. I sometimes use it when we leave the dog in the car at a shopping center etc. I want to know if someone is bothering the dog or the car for that matter. Leave the transmitting FRS radio in plain sight on top of the dash. Keep the other near you. Battery life for your purpose is a question.

I’d rather avoid confrontation as the bad guy might be armed. The opening hood switch to power a noisemaker is what I’d do first while thinking about moving.


Yes I was being factious. However there are a lot of people on another thread that feel certain laws don’t apply to them so I suppose we can just make things up as we go along. The law be damned, Public safety be damned.

I would never shoot someone stealing a battery anywhere, let alone a city street.

I have been popped in the back with bird shot at about 25 yards (long story), I was wearing insulated bibs and I barely felt it, its not as bad as it sounds, the real danger comes if you hit someone in their eye, it obviously can blind them. With the proper choke and bird shot, the shot will only travel 90-100 feet.

Thats why a shotgun is a good home defense weapon, with the right shell the shot will not penetrate your drywall, so if you are shooting an intruder you do not have to worry about the bullet hitting a family member in another room.

When Billy bad A^%es decide they are going to use an ar-15 for home defense, they do not realize when the fire that gun, the bullet will go thru their walls and into their neighbors house.

I don’t like shotguns indoors. You definitely need a little time to put everyone’s ear protectors on. Everyone including the perpetrator and the innocent will loose lots of hearing. But, a cell phone and a recording of a very angry dog ( or a real one ) makes the after dark thieve’s knees quiver just before they start running. There are so many dogs in our area, anyone who walks down the road elicits continual barking from some of them . I think it’s an effective deterrent. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with firearms for home defense. But, they should be waaaay down the pecking order of use, and only as a very last resort and used only to protect life and not property, like batteries ?

My vote would be to wire up a switch and relay to trigger the horn; and maybe the headlights also.
That should startle someone into next week…

I’m not against the booby trap scenario but with the laws and courts the way they are someone could get injured and sue the car owner into next week also…

My home defense firearm is a police type Mossberg 500 Persuader shotgun with a pistol grip and a mixed load of Magnum slugs and OO Buckshot. The problem with birdshot is that if a property owner is ever faced with pulling the trigger in a life or death situation and with no way out there should not be any doubt about the outcome.

Thankfully, over 30 years with that firearm it’s never been discharged for its intended purpose although there was a situation evolved once that led me to pull it out.

A shot gun has a noise level of over 155 db. I would never want to fire one inside. Even my choice for inside home defense, a low load .38 from a short manageable DAO handgun is loud and a last resort. Cocking a pump or auto shotgun may scare someone, but it puts it on cocked single action which is not recomended for most running around with in the home where the slightest of pressure sets it of. IMHO, shotguns sound good in theory but are vastly over rated, work quietly and very well only in the movies but are totally unsuitable for most to handle effectively inside. Double action only Handguns are best and only after the family dog has lost his appetite and you run out of pepper spray.

Again I am reminded how lucky I am to live at the end of a dead end street with a national park next door in a rural town so small I could pedal a bike around it before lunch.


I’m not going to state my personal opinion about firearms

Anyways . . .

A former colleague of mine (now retired) said he didn’t feel safe in national parks unless he could bring his firearms along