INDIANAPOLIS - Thieves are targeting copper piping and catalytic converters in Indianapolis, and they're doing so at an alarming rate, police say.
Now, a new University of Indianapolis study reports that the worldwide demand for metals is having a big impact in Indiana.
Darren Frye is among those hit in the recent spike in thefts. He said he parked his utility truck on the city's southwest side overnight. It's an area that has seen more catalytic converter thefts than anywhere else in Indianapolis this year.
"It's upsetting. It's frustrating," Frye said. "It's costing me money not to be able to get to my jobs this morning. It's cost me a few hours. So yeah, it's frustrating."
According to the University of Indianapolis study, catalytic converter thefts have doubled in the past five years.
In Fountain Square, Emily Schaab also had her catalytic converter stolen while her SUV sat on Prospect Street.
"I made some phone calls, stayed on the phone with my husband all the way home just in case," Schaab said. "It was scary."
The University of Indianapolis says the city averages 11 metal thefts per day, compared to only seven thefts per day five years ago.
The problem has grown worse despite the adoption of stringent city codes that regulate who can scrap precious metals, catalytic converters and air conditioning equipment. Metro police say the city's scrap metal is simply heading out of the county.
"They know that a lot of counties don't have any way to track it," said IMPD Detective Larry Craciunoiu. "They don't monitor it. They know there are people that they can sell these items off."
On the northeast side, Ty Fouse says he's been rehabbing a home. Two nights ago, scrap metal thieves broke into the house and stole brass fixtures and all the copper pipe and copper wiring from the basement, kitchen and bathrooms.
"If you need money, there's plenty of work out there," Fouse said. "Just go out and get it. But man, stealing, it ain't the way to go. You may be hurting, but you're hurting someone else as well."
IMPD says the metal thefts are highly concentrated in just a few areas of the city.
Suspect, victim in murder-suicide identified
Police now know the identities of the two people shot and killed in an apparent murder-suicide on the city's northeast side.
Officer hit by car while investigating crash
Police were investigating a crash when they stopped another driver for going the wrong way.
A few showers and areas of fog tonight
ALERT – A few showers and areas of fog possible overnight.
1988 Indy 500: Rick Mears has his third win
The 1988 Indianapolis 500 was a show of record breaking domination by some of the most familiar figures in track history.
Sanders to campaign in Indy Monday
Bernie Sanders will be in Indianapolis on Monday to host "A Future to Believe In" GOTV rally.