A man suspected of stealing vehicle batteries, mostly from Jeeps, in Center City and other neighborhoods was identified by police Thursday as 41-year-old Juan Carlos Lugo, a.k.a. Carlos Martinez.
Police are seeking the public's help in finding him. In one case, the battery bandit was caught on surveillance video June 20 opening the hood of a Jeep Wrangler on the 2000 block of Lombard Street in Center City and swiping the battery.
Lt. Martin Bernard of the Major Crimes Unit said in a phone interview last month that, since June, he has received reports of 26 stolen vehicle batteries, 22 of them from Jeeps, and most of those from Jeep Wranglers.
"The problem with the Jeeps," Bernard said, "is they don't have a locking mechanism" on the hood.
Police believe the same man is committing all the battery thefts. Besides Center City, the thefts have taken place in the Kensington area, parts of South Philadelphia, and other neighborhoods.
In addition to the battery thefts, Bernard said last month, four Jeep Wranglers have been stolen since June. Those thefts occurred in University City, Center City, and Port Richmond, he said. Police believe there could be a link between the vehicle and battery thefts.