Raleigh police file 20 larceny charges in bus-battery thefts

From staff reportsJuly 22, 2013 

— Harvey Uras Jones, the man charged with trying to sell 17 batteries stolen from Wake County school buses last week, now has been charged with taking 51 of them.

Police filed 20 counts of larceny of motor vehicle parts, a felony, against Jones on Friday. Each count lists two or three batteries and estimates that repairing a bus costs $120 for each, for a total of $6,120.

School bus drivers and mechanics found batteries missing Wednesday morning from buses parked at the Wake County Public School System transportation area at Southeast Raleigh High School on Rock Quarry Road.

A few hours later, Garner police charged Jones, 31, of 2616 Holiday Drive in Raleigh with possession of stolen property and attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. They said he went to TT&E Iron & Metal on West Garner Road with 17 of the bus batteries in the trunk of a Mazda he was driving.

Raleigh police said they found another six batteries at his home later that day. It was unclear Monday if police had recovered the other 28 batteries.

Police had said the day of the theft that 61 batteries were taken from buses, each of which uses two or three batteries, but later revised that to 51 batteries from 20 buses.

Once the thefts were discovered, police began calling salvage yards and other places where the thieves might attempt to sell the batteries for scrap. The 17 batteries that police say Jones attempted to sell weighed 957 pounds. At 23 cents a pound, he would have received $220.11, according to Ronnie Thompson, co-owner of TT&E, where employees called police.

A schools spokeswoman said the district pays $63 for each battery.

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