(Memphis) A 66-year-old man is behind bars, accused of excavating a vacant lot for the steel pipes buried below.
Cotry Maclin is charged with theft of property and vandalism of $60,000 or more.
Police say it took months for Maclin to tear up the lot in the 1400 block of Riverside Drive in south Memphis.
They say he admitted to using an excavator to break up the concrete and dig up $100,000 worth of steel pipes.
Employees at businesses near the industrial area say they first noticed the heavy equipment about six months ago and assumed the owners of the property were clearing the lot.
"I just saw them leveling it out, clearing it out. I thought they were going to put up a new building. I was kind of hoping they were going to put a new building there," said Drew Short with H&H Container Services.
The realty company that owns the lot discovered what was going on Monday when they got a call about a broken water main on their property that was flooding the area.
The owners were shocked by the damage, but were able to get the license plate number of a car parked in the lot to help police make an arrest.
Police say Maclin had help selling the steel pipes to a local scrap yard, but so far he is the only one facing any charges.
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