Wilmington police say there have been nearly 200 cases of thieves stealing metal piping from vacant properties across the city this year.
Authorities said Wednesday that four theft cases have been reported in the last week.
Mayor James Baker says the thieves are stealing copper piping from vacant properties and metal plates from traffic signals and light poles.
Wilmington spokesman Rich Neumann says natural gas leaks can occur when thieves take copper piping from gas hot water heaters and other gas lines.
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