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Thieves struck a cell tower in the Carneros area this week, making off with expensive backup batteries that power the tower in emergencies, the Napa County Sheriff's Office reported.

The thefts, which occurred at a tower in a vineyard off Duhig Road, were reported Tuesday by Pacific Gas & Electric which manages towers for AT&T and Verizon, said Henry Wofford, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office.

The thieves took two shelves of batteries, each valued at $2,000 and weighing 100 pounds, Wofford said. The batteries were located at ground level at the base of the tower.

This was the first theft of this type in Napa County, but law enforcement in Sonoma and Sacramento counties reports many similar thefts in their areas, Wofford said.

The Sheriff's Office is asking the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity near cell stations. Most are located off the beaten path, he said.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.