And there's not much that can be done to stop them.
San Francisco Prius owners are on high-alert after a rash of battery thefts. The thieves brazenly break into the hybrids and rip out the battery, which can sell for $900-$1,000 on Craigslist. According to mechanics interviewed by San Francisco’s ABC7 News during an investigative report on the thefts, repairs can cost as much as $10,000. This cost goes towards replacing the battery and the damage associated with its theft, including broken windows, cut cables and destroyed harnesses. The batteries aren’t marked so they are untraceable.
It takes a skilled thief 20 minutes to safely detach a battery. This video shows the aftermath of such a theft.
Toyota is still looking for ways to help keep batteries in Prii safe. For now the suggestion is to buy stronger bolts that take longer for thieves to cut through. Good luck with that one, green warriors of San Francisco.