SANTEE (CNS) - Four men and a woman were in custody Friday in connection with a battery-theft ring in which a variety of vehicle types were targeted in the East County, authorities said.
From Feb. 1 to March 21, a total of 31 batteries were stolen from private and commercial vehicles, including trucks, golf carts and motor homes in the East County, said San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Craig Johnson.
On Wednesday, patrol deputies received a report that two batteries were stolen from a motor home in the 9500 block of Nicole Way in Santee, Johnson said.
A witness to the theft gave investigators a description of the thieves, their car and a license plate number, which was registered to a residence on Beechtree Street in El Cajon, he said.
Investigators and patrol deputies placed the Beechtree Street address under surveillance and checked local recycling businesses for the suspects' vehicle. They determined the suspects had just left an El Cajon recycling business after selling batteries, Johnson said.
Within minutes, three people returned to the Beechtree Street residence, where they were arrested, according to Johnson, who said two additional suspects from previous battery thefts were arrested around the same time during a traffic stop.
Brandon Elder, 25, of Lakeside was arrested on suspicion of petty theft and possession of a controlled substance, which Johnson identified as heroin.
Daniel Stevenson, 23, of Lakeside was arrested on suspicion of petty theft and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Brooke Winter, 21, of El Cajon was arrested on suspicion of petty theft, and Brian Shay, 18, of Santee was arrested on suspicion of parole violation.
Jacob Lippert, 18, of La Mesa was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance -- heroin, according to Johnson -- and being in possession of drug-consumption paraphernalia and burglary tools.
The investigation remains open, Johnson said, adding that more people may be involved in the burglary spree.
"The public is encouraged to keep their vehicles secured and minimize the potential for theft," the sergeant said.
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