MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- Police have seen a recent spike in batteries stolen from recreational vehicles parked in driveways around Milwaukie.

Authorities said that they have seen at least a dozen batteries stolen in the past three weeks alone.

The thieves take the stolen batteries to recycling businesses and get about $7 to $10 per battery. The original owners often pay more than $100 for travel trailer, boat and other RV batteries, said Ulli Neitch with the Milwaukie Police Department.

On Thursday, John Henry discovered a stranger near the travel trailer parked in his front yard on Southeast Filbert Street. He confronted the man and discovered he was trying to steal two batteries from inside the trailer, Neitch said.

The suspect then made a hasty getaway on his bicycle, which just so happened to be dragging a trailer where he would put his ill-gotten gains, Neitch said.

It's hard times for everybody out there, but it s hard for us too, Henry said. We own our homes. We got jobs. We got work... My wife s working now that I m retired. I can t afford to pay $200 for a new set of batteries just because someone wants to make 5 or 10 bucks off of them.

The suspect is described as a white man in his mid to late 30s, 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds. He has short brown hair and was unshaven. He was wearing a plaid flannel shirt and jeans.

Anyone with information about the suspect was asked to call police.

Authorities recommend citizens remove and secure batteries from RVs, boats and campers and store them inside the house.

KGW reporter Jacqueline Sit contributed to this report.

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