By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma - Oklahoma City metro businesses have reported Koi fish thefts of at least $85,000 in the past four months.

The exotic fish are sold for at least $1,500 making them a popular item on the black market, said Glynda Chu, Edmond police spokeswoman.

"Bottom line, they're very expensive," Chu said. "Anytime you have a commodity that there's a market for, unfortunately, they're going to fall victim to foul play like this."

The most recent fish theft was reported last week at Crosstimber Koi in Edmond

"We came in New Year's morning about 8 a.m. to check on everything and we noticed that several fish out of this particular vat had been stolen," Crosstimber Koi owner Don Connelly said.

Connelly said the thieves jumped the fence to get in. They also tried to break into his green house where more containers of fish are stored.

Including previous thefts in September, the business has lost nearly $50,000 worth of fish.

Thieves have also targeted Garden Ponds Unlimited in Moore. About $35,000 worth of Koi was taken in October and the business was hit again on Dec. 25.

"They had already taken most of what we had, so we only had a couple of thousand dollars left in the display ponds, but they took them all," Garden Ponds Unlimited owner Lauri Lucas said.

Lucas has surveillance video showing a light colored SUV in the background and the thief is seen in a hooded shirt carrying a net and a flash light.

In other frames from the video, the thief is seen walking around with fish in the net. Lucas said she believes the same thieves hit both businesses.

"The first time they got hit, we found out we got hit two weeks later. And then again we got hit on Christmas and they go hit on New Year's Eve," Lucas said.

The owners of both businesses said they plan to beef up security to prevent future thefts.

Police ask anyone with information on the crimes to call the Edmond Police Department at (405) 359-4466 or the Moore Police Department at (405) 793-5171.