Metro police investigate stolen furnace from vacant home

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating after police said burglars broke into a vacant South side home and stole a furnace and air conditioning unit.

It's unclear if the utilities were turned on, but experts said the crime could have turned dangerous and deadly.

In October 2015, a house exploded in Muncie. The likely cause was a stolen furnace leaving an open gas line that ignited with a flame from the water heater. The explosion destroyed the home and caused damage to nearby homes, as well.

Investigators in Indy said it's likely more than one person was responsible for stealing the furnace.

"What they'll do with that, is they'll take it to a scrap yard and they'll go ahead and sell it for scrap, or they might sell the components individually as well," explained IMPD Officer Jim Gillespie.

Wayne Township Fire Department Cpt. Mike Pruitt said his fire crews have often responded to homes where furnaces were improperly removed. He said it's important to neighbors to pay attention to potential warning signs that a home could be filling with gas.

"You're gonna smell the product that they put in the gas and that's typically what people smell whenever there's a gas leak in the area," Pruitt said.

If you have a vacant property near you that is a concern, you can contact DPW. They will send crews to board up windows and make sure doors are secure. Click here for more info.

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