TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Officials have said that precious metal theft is on the rise in the Wabash Valley.

Catalytic converter theft has been one of the noted forms of precious metal theft over the past two years. Indiana lawmakers passed legislation to curb catalytic converter theft last year.

Indiana State Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Matt Ames confirmed that catalytic converter theft has gone down, but thieves are looking at other means of obtaining precious metals illegally.

“I believe thieves are becoming more creative but they’re being a lot more bold too,” Ames said.

The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is the latest victim of precious metal theft. Nearly two dozen Lamppost panels made of bronze and copper were stolen from the park last week.

Chief of Interpretation Joe Herron expressed his disappointment that thieves would target the park. Herron said that they’re in the process of trying to replace the panels, but much of the historical value is gone.

“In many ways they’re irreplaceable because they are original,” Herron explained.

Air conditioning units and copper wiring on abandoned homes are normal targets for thieves. But, Ames said thieves having targeted copper wiring on Indiana Department of Transportation equipment.

He said that thieves will imitate construction workers and attempt to steal copper wiring of roadway lights and safety

“They’ll put the reflective vests on and act like they’re a construction worker,” Ames explained. “But they’re actually stripping the wiring off of lighting fixtures.

According to ISP, copper pipe and air conditioning units are the two most frequently stolen items with valuable metals.