MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Twin Cities area police agencies are reporting a rash of brass thefts from parking ramps and buildings with sprinkler systems.

Police believe thieves have been targeting valves and swivels in Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park and other cities since late last year because scrap brass prices have reached $2 per pound.

Cities have increased police patrols, advised building and ramp owners to regularly check for missing pipe connections and asked the public to alert police to suspicious activity.

The missing connections create a safety threat, especially when taken from apartment buildings, schools and office buildings.

Bloomington police commander Vic Poyer says if those connections are missing, water simply pours out of the pipe or the standpipe lacks the pressure to charge the system.