Woman Arrested for Stealing Used Car Batteries in Roanoke Co.

Roanoke Co., VA - Roanoke County detectives have arrested the person they say stole $20,000 worth of used car batteries from a Roanoke County business.

But their investigation continues.

Right now, Chelsea Thompson, 28, of Roanoke is charged with grand larceny. She's being held in the Roanoke County - Salem Jail without bond.

For the past week, investigators have been on the trail of the crooks that made off thousands of dollars worth of batteries from a Glenvar area Interstate Battery, searching a home in southeast Roanoke last week, where even now, one of the suspect vehicles still sits.

On Thursday, what looked like the other vehicle, a Ford Focus, pulled off of Main Street, in front of the store, and let off a passenger looking to sell a battery.

"The guy never got out of the car. He sent the girl to do it," said Timothy Strawder from Interstate Battery.

Strawder helped the woman in the door. Surveillance video shows while Strawder wrote up the sale, his manager can be seen nudging him, both now fully aware that the battery Thompson wants to sell is one of the dozens stolen from the shop in October.

"I went ahead and paid her out cash like we normally do on a junk battery transaction, and then had her sign and print her name," he said.

As the woman left, the manager checked the tag number as Strawder made for his car to follow the suspects.

"I was pretty pumped up because we were pretty sure it was the people."

It ended at Spartan Square when Strawder called the police who apprehended the two in an Ollies Discount Store.

Thompson was charged with the battery thefts. Her partner, Andrew Mandakis, 29, was charged with concealment after the cops caught him with a handful of video games under his shirt.

"We thought for sure they wouldn't be dumb enough to come back here. But as the Salem police officer said, when people get desperate they do incredibly stupid things," said Strawder.

Both remain in jail Friday night on their respective charges.

Investigators continue to piece this all together with the prospect of more charges for Thompson as well as other people being charged in the future.