DUXBURY (CBS) — A 47-year-old Plymouth man has been arrested for a string of break-ins into empty or for sale homes around Duxbury, Hanover, Pembroke, Kingston, Plymouth, Carver, and Plimpton. Michael Davis did not appear to be going for jewelry or electronics though.

“He was stripping all of the copper piping out of the basements in order to sell it for scrap,” said Lt. Lewis Chubb of the Duxbury Police Department. “It’s money, and if you’re desperate for money, it’s something people are willing to do.”

Michael Davis (Photo Courtesy: Hanover Police)

It is a homeowner’s nightmare: “To my knowledge, all of the houses involved have been for sale,” said Chubb.

According to police, homeowners walked into an unattended house in Duxbury and realized there was no heat. When they walked into the basement they discovered the pipes had been cut.

“In a basement area they are exposed so you’re not busting walls open you’re just taking everything from the floor,” Chubb explained.

After a home in Duxbury was hit, police worked with several other agencies to name Davis as a suspect. They applied for and received a court-authorized GPS tracking device which led them to Hanover.

“Once they found the house that was for sale, not occupied in that area, they checked and sure enough they found him in the house,” Chubb said.

Police said Davis was “in the act of stealing the copper pipes” and was arrested after trying to run away, pipe cutter in hand.

In the home, police found black plastic bags placed over the basement windows with tacks. Crews said Tuesday there was thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

Police hope this serves as a reminder: “Home security systems are always a good idea. Making sure you have people keeping an eye on the property it is vacant,” said Chubb.

Davis appeared before a judge Tuesday in Hingham District Court. He faces multiple charges including malicious destruction of property. He will be back in court on  May 1.

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