BELOIT (WIFR) -- Thieves have been targeting vacant homes in Beloit, and leaving behind quite the mess.
Joseph Goforth said people have tried breaking into his garage more than a dozen times. But because of his watchful neighbors, nothing has ever been stolen.
"In this neighborhood, we watch out for each other in this neighborhood," said Goforth. "You know, if like somebody going somewhere, they usually come and let us know, and we watch their house for them."
Which is why Goforth is surprised someone ripped out the copper piping of two vacant homes on his street just within the past several days.
"Our best guess is that the copper plumbing is being used, was taken for scrap," said Capt. Vince Sciame of the Beloit Police Department. "And obviously individuals that are in need of cash and find it necessary to steal from someone else to get that cash."
In a matter of days, half a dozen vacant houses in Beloit have been stripped of their copper causing some properties to flood.
The police department is asking residents to look out for houses that are up for sale, or ones that have foreclosed in their neighborhoods, and report seeing any suspicious activity.
"I report it right away to the police," said Candy Goforth if she sees anything suspicious. "I wouldn't even wait one second to call. I would be getting somebody up here and getting them off our block and hoping they get arrested and go to jail."
The police have yet to catch any of the thieves.
Beloit police said they started noticing these type of thefts about a year ago. They say it's a crime of opportunity and can happen in any neighborhood with vacant houses.