Install something expensive in a car and thieves will find a way. At first it was catalytic converters and airbags, now it’s hybrid batteries, with a spate of break-ins reported on both coasts.
KGO in San Francisco has been following the trend, where criminals smash their way into a Toyota Prius, cut the cables, and rip out the battery.
A quick search of the SF-Bay Area Craigslist shows battery packs going for anywhere between $700 and $1,300, but that’s just for the hardware – repair shops are charging between $3,000 and up to $7,000 depending on the damage and the source of the parts.
A Toyota dealer told Yahoo Autos that it should take around an hour for a mechanic to remove one of the batteries from the Prius, but thieves are reportedly pulling it off in around 20 minutes.
The majority of the packs stolen are from the 3rd generation Prius, which Yahoo says is puzzling since those batteries would have to be repackaged to fit in the cars that need them – mainly the 2nd-gen. Prius.