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Alleged battery thief in jail

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Charlotte man charged with three counts of stealing used car batteries from Walmart in Indian Land

By Jesef Williams

Authorities have arrested the man they say stole more than 200 car batteries from Walmart in Indian Land between May and August.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office issued a media release about the arrest Friday, Sept. 14 – a day before the suspect’s birthday.

Jeffrey Bernard McKnight, now 47, of Charlotte, has been charged with three counts of burglary. He was arrested in Charlotte nearly two weeks ago and transported to the Lancaster County Detention Center on Wednesday.
McKnight is jailed on a $60,000 surety bond.

Last month, the sheriff’s office identified McKnight as the man who broke into the storage cage behind the Indian Land supercenter and carried away about 150 used car batteries the night of Aug. 15.

The batteries are valued at about $1,350.

Surveillance video showed the man wearing a yellow reflective vest (in an attempt to disguise himself as a Walmart employee) and a camouflage baseball cap.
His vehicle, a dark-colored SUV, can also be seen in the video.
Deputies say McKnight also broke into the storage cage two earlier times – stealing 81 batteries May 20 and 34 batteries June 26.

Last month, Sheriff’s Maj. Matt Shaw said deputies recovered some of the stolen batteries at a business in Charlotte that buys used batteries.

He added that Charlotte police assisted Lancaster deputies in finding McKnight.

“Our investigators did a great job tracking down McKnight,” Sheriff Barry Faile said. “Any time a case crosses jurisdictional boundaries, it becomes more difficult to crack but our investigators were able to work well with several other agencies to close this case. Job well done.”

A still picture from the Walmart surveillance video released last month showed what appeared to be McKnight loading batteries onto a roll-back truck with the help of an accomplice.
Last month, Shaw said the video indicates more than one person was involved. On Friday, though, he said deputies have yet to identify a second suspect.

McKnight’s record

This isn’t McKnight’s first run-in with the law.

He has spent most of the past 20 years in prison on numerous convictions for serious crimes, most recently a seven-year stretch for a 1999 conviction as a habitual felon for felony breaking and entering, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records.

McKnight also served eight years, seven months for a 1985 conviction of robbery with a dangerous weapon and second-degree murder, during which he received an additional six-month concurrent sentence in 1990 for escape.

Between those two sentences, McKnight did two stints in jail for possession of a schedule II drug and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152