Students are told to be on alert after a series of car battery thefts on the UCLA campus.
The strange crime may not be isolated to Westwood. Students said they’ve heard of this happening on other college campuses and UCLA police said it's happening in Glendale too.
Bob Lyman has been in the auto repair industry for four decades and says he’s never heard of anything like what happened on the UCLA campus in Westwood earlier this month.
According to the UCLA Police Department, at least 20 car batteries have been stolen from vehicles parked in different structures on campus, and right now investigators have no suspects or leads.
"I think it’s probably kids – they're selling them to the recycling place," Lyman said.
He suspects the thieves are getting just $25 per battery – an amount that doesn't seem worth the risk and effort.
Police said the batteries were stolen between May 6 and May 15. The victims were students, staff, or faculty. Students said they were surprised to hear about the odd crime spree.
Most people had the same question when they learned about the battery thefts.
"Why would someone steal car batteries?" West L.A. resident Paul Grand said. "I wouldn't even think there was a market for car batteries."
Campus officials haven't said how the thief or thieves gained access to the cars or if anything else was taken.
"It's just striking to see that people steal car batteries to students that are trying to put themselves through school or college, and they're paying their bills, maybe part-time jobs," UCLA alumus Stuart Schikora said. "It's just a travesty to see this."
Campus police say if you see something strange on campus, report it.
For instance, if someone has the hood of their car open in a parking structure, it could be suspicious because that’s not a common place to work on a car. They also say always remember to lock your car and don’t keep anything valuable inside.