Two men have been arrested after allegedly stealing $50,000 worth of industrial batteries from Durham Region utility boxes. Police say the suspects would target a specific utility box, break into it, obtain the batteries and then sell them for scrap metal. At least 25 utility boxes were broken into in Durham Region, police say.

Through an investigation — dubbed Project Phoenix — police were able to determine that about $2,000 worth of batteries were stolen from each individual utility box.

According to investigators, most of the stolen batteries – which work as a backup power supply in telecommunication utility boxes in residential neighbourhoods – were sold for “considerably less” than they’re worth to scrap dealers.

On Aug. 4, police arrested two men at a recycling depot in Whitby in relation to the investigation.

Christopher Kyc, 39, and Logan Deon, 19, both of Oshawa are both charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Anyone with new information about this investigation is being asked to call Det. Sitaram or Det. Const. Hartry of the Central East Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).