BANGOR — Police say they’ve been busy investigating reports of people breaking into vacant homes and stealing water, heating and other metal pipes.

Law enforcement officials tell the Bangor Daily News that thieves for the most part are stealing pipes — and in one case the aluminum siding off the side of a building — for easy cash to support their drug habits. They say the price of recycled scrap metal has been going up as the price of oil rises.

Deputy Chief Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department says some thieves are breaking into homes and targeting scrap metal when the homeowners are at work or away for the weekend. He said he’s hearing similar stories from his counterparts around the state.