Batteries stolen from four cars on campus, police say


Students pull into Parking Lot H at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Car batteries were stolen from four Hondas parked at El Camino College parking lots including Parking Lot H within a two-hour timespan on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Car batteries were stolen from four Honda vehicles parked at El Camino College in a span of two hours on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 10, police said.

In all cases, the victims were students who drove more than 15-year-old Honda sedans and were away from their vehicles located in Parking Lots L, F and H for approximately one hour, ECC Police Chief Michael Trevis said.

“I’m very concerned. I take this personally,” Trevis said. “People expect the police department to be here to protect them and their property. As I’ve said before, police departments are measured by the absence of crime. This certainly doesn’t help us.”

The victims’ cars included a 1998 Honda Civic, a 1998 Honda Accord and two 2002 Honda Preludes. Old Honda Civics and Accords were two of the most stolen vehicles in 2017 and are often stripped down and sold for parts on the black market, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2017 Hot Wheels Report.

The El Camino College Police Department (ECCPD) does not have any leads on suspects yet as the car battery thefts were not caught on surveillance cameras, Trevis said.

However, ECCPD sent notices out to local law enforcement agencies regarding a possible suspect’s vehicle seen by cameras to be circling the parking lots where the four incidents occurred, Trevis said.

As a result of the thefts, ECCPD has put out extra patrols at parking lots and will be positioning portable surveillance cameras near them.

While he can recall car battery thefts happening on campus in the past, Trevis said it has been years since they have occurred at ECC. He added the thieves will likely sell the stolen batteries on the black market or to whoever is looking to buy one.

Film major Nick Zaragosa said ECCPD increasing patrol at parking lots was a good move.

“I think they’ve got to do what they need to do in order to keep the campus safe and keep kids from losing cars because cars cost a lot of money,” Zaragosa said. “I know a lot of kids on this campus that can’t afford a new car right away.”

He added that while students worry about things other than school, having to think about whether their car battery is stolen should not have to be something on their mind.

Computer science major Gordon Tran said he would be furious if he was an owner of a vehicle that fit the description of cars being targeted in battery thefts.

He said owners of late-model Hondas should be careful and take precautions, including making sure their vehicles are not isolated in parking structures.

“To try to prevent this from happening again is to park where other people are parking,” Tran said. “Hopefully other people, if they’re walking to their car, can see what’s happening.”

Trevis also said late-model Honda owners need to be careful and should park in areas with lots of people around.

Anyone with information regarding the thefts is requested to contact ECCPD.