Rowan authorities charged three with stealing industrial batteries

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

By Shavonne Walker

Rowan authorities say three men were charged with stealing industrial batteries after the three wrecked their pickup on Mooresville Road and the batteries were scattered onto the roadway and in a field.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Nicholas Frazier, Andrew Gehl, Damian Robert Phillips — all of whom face multiple felony offenses.

Phillips, 21, was charged with five counts of felony larceny and one count felony possession of stolen goods.

Gehl, 20, was charged with 12 counts of felony larceny, felony possession of stolen goods, and misdemeanor larceny.

Frazier, 20, was charged with felony possession of stolen goods, 12 counts of felony larceny, and misdemeanor larceny.

On July 16, it was reported that five different battery storage cabinets had been broken into at different sites in the eastern party of the county. Officials said 32 batteries belonging to Windstream Wireless Communications were taken.

Total officials said eight batteries were taken from Organ Church Road, eight batteries from Castor Road, four from Shuping Mill Road, four batteries from Old Beatty Ford Road and eight batteries from Zion Church Road. The stolen batteries from each site is about $1,300 in value.

On July 16 around 8:30 a.m., all of the vehicle’s occupants had been taken to NorthEast Medical Center and the batteries and tools were scattered in a corn field. An AT&T employee said he recognized the batteries that belonged to the company, saying there should be a bar code on them. Of the batteries at the site, 12 of them came from Iredell County.

The remainder of the batteries were identified and belonged to Windstream and had been stolen from the eastern part of the county, officials said.

The men worked for Absolute Power and the owner of the truck said it was their job to replace and work on batteries at sites belonging to different companies “up and down the southeast.” The owner told investigators the three conducted business between the Charlotte and Wilmington areas.

The owner did say the employees were allowed to scrap batteries that needed to be replaced to use the money for meals, hotel and other travel expenses. Authorities said the stolen batteries were not in need of replacement, but were instead cut away from the connection wires.

Rowan officials say other areas including Cabarrus, Mooresville and Troutman authorities have also had similar thefts reported.

Frazier remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $25,000 secured bond. Gehl has since been released under a $25,000 secured bond. Phillips was being held at the Cabarrus County jail. He has since been released.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.