Thieves have been stealing air conditioning units and scrap metal from vacant homes across Peoria, police say.

“We see it more in the north part of the city where there are newer homes, because they are taking AC units from the ground and not the roofs,” Peoria police public information officer Jay Davies said.

In the last six weeks, there have been 44 reports of stolen air conditioning units in the city, Davies said.

The problem has become more prevalent recently, however there were a few isolated incidents in the past, he said.

“The mid to end of April is when we really started to notice the issue ramping up.” Davies said.

Consumers are getting a better price for scrap metal, so the issue has been a crime of opportunity, Davies said. There are an abundance of vacant homes across the Valley, which gives burglars an easier opportunity to steal the units, he said.

Police have not caught any suspects but are asking for all residents to be on the look out for suspicious behavior, reported