AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — Thieves in Aurora have found a new target — robbing empty, foreclosed homes, causing thousands of dollars in damage and theft.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, Aurora police say it has become an epidemic. While overall crime is falling, 127 more burglaries were reported in the west suburban city in 2011 than the year before, despite efforts by police to curb the problem with a special task force.

For one example, a vacant two-story house on North Chestnut Street in Aurora was hit by burglars less than 20 hours after a real estate showing last week.

Thieves yanked out 70 feet of copper piping in the basement, flooding the home with a foot of water and doing $3,100 in damage.

The owner says it is the second time such a burglary has happened.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.