Time Warner Cable Battery Thefts Interrupted by Police
By Office of Communication
Posted on August 17, 2012, August 17, 2012

The Arlington Police Department took the lead on an organized theft investigation that resulted in the arrest and indictment of suspects responsible for a rash of cable battery thefts in north Texas.

Suspects were posing as Time Warner Cable personnel, breaking into cable supply cabinets and stealing batteries and power supply wiring harnesses, investigators said. The precious metals inside the batteries were being exchanged for cash.

"When a battery was stolen, it wasn't just cable service being interrupted," said Sgt. Kyle Dishko. "Customers were losing telephone and internet services, including the ability to call 9-1-1 during an emergency."

For a one-year period beginning January 1, 2011, Time Warner Cable reported 228 theft offenses citywide involving cable batteries. That same year, the company recorded a net loss of nearly $260,000.

APD met with Time Warner security personnel to analyze the scope of the problem and gather offense reports from cities where similar thefts had occurred.

Investigators soon learned the problem was regional, impacting cable customers in Plano, Fort Worth, Dallas and surrounding areas. Law enforcement agencies from Grand Prairie, Kennedale and Forest Hill, including the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office were soon brought into the investigation.

Dishko said the community was also engaged, including Citizens on Patrol Mobile members who circulated news bulletins while on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Using decoy batteries containing GPS devises, pole mounted surveillance cameras and batteries engraved with serial numbers, investigators conducted sting operations inside recycling and salvage business and were able to track and recover stolen batteries. Warrants were issued and suspects were arrested and indicted for engaging in organized crime.

During a recent APD Manager's Meeting, a Time Warner Cable investigations team brought accolades from their corporate offices in New York and said, "thank you" to all who worked to solve this crime. The Time Warner representatives were Investigations Manager Jeff Marin and Investigator Michael Ashlock.

Sgt. Donald Fulbright said APD continues to work with Time Warner security to develop measures to prevent future offenses. He said cable supply cabinets in communities are now being secured with bars and locks. Recycling businesses targeted in sting operations are refusing to purchase batteries clearly marked as Time Warner property.

Assistant Chief Jaime Ayala said the investigative model used in this case builds strong working relationships with north Texas law enforcement agencies.

"This is a great example of good, old-fashioned police work and how public and private partnerships together can build strong regional relationships that make a difference," he said.

Cable Battery Thefts

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