RAYNHAM - As her mother and father were arrested, the 5-year-old girl waiting in the family’s minivan made a simple statement to police.
As her mother and father were arrested, the 5-year-old girl waiting in the family’s minivan made a simple statement to police.
‘‘She said her daddy uses drugs and he goes and steals from houses,’’ Taunton police Detective Peter J. Corr said.
The child’s parents were arrested in Raynham on Saturday night after detectives investigating a series of thefts tracked the couple as they drove throughout the region, authorities said.
The arrest marked the end of what authorities called a regional burglary spree targeting houses under construction and renovation. The suspects are accused of breaking into homes and construction trailers and primarily stealing tools and copper for resale.
Copper and other metals have been hot items for thieves for more than a year. Police throughout the area have arrested several people in connection with the theft of copper from homes, construction sites and other places.
On Saturday, a team of detectives tracked the pair as they drove with the child to her grandfather’s Attleboro home for dinner, then as they broke into a Foxboro house before driving to Raynham, police said.
It was there that investigators from Raynham, Middleboro and Taunton caught one suspect breaking into an Oak Street house and another behind the wheel of a getaway vehicle, authorities said.
Authorities seized a small amount of heroin and burglary tools, Raynham Police Chief Louis J. Pacheco said.
Stephen M. Terpstra, 27, of Middleboro was charged with resisting arrest, breaking and entering in the nighttime, possession of burglary tools, larceny, and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.
Cheryl A. Souza, 29, of Bridgewater was charged with possession of heroin, operating an uninsured vehicle, operating an unregistered vehicle and accessory before the fact.
The arrests were made Saturday night, following days of surveillance by detectives from 13 law enforcement agencies. The detectives took turns trailing the couple over a period of several days.
‘‘They pooled their resources,’’ Bridgewater police Lt. Christopher Delmonte said. ‘‘No one has the resources to do it on their own.’’
The couple found houses that were under construction or being renovated and then broke in, Delmonte said.
‘‘They would come in and clean it out,’’ he said.
Delmonte said the suspects sold the stolen copper to salvage yards and sold the tools elsewhere.
Authorities recovered some of the stolen items and are continuing the investigation, he said.
Detectives throughout the area met Oct. 24 to swap notes on the thefts and develop a plan for catching the culprits, Delmonte said.
Investigators from various towns had already gathered information that made Terpstra and Souza suspects, but to be able to make arrests, they needed more, Delmonte said.
Working in shifts, the investigators tracked the pair for several days, police said. The work paid off Saturday night.
‘‘The team watched them do a housebreak in Foxboro,’’ Delmonte said. ‘‘Then they followed them to a house in Raynham, where they did a break there. The team arrested them there.’’
Terpstra had screwdrivers, a cell phone and gloves, among other things, when he was arrested, Chief Pacheco said.
Corr, the Taunton detective, then approached the minivan and the woman behind the wheel was arrested, he said.
Corr said authorities kept the child in the vehicle to shield her from the commotion.
He said the child had been with her parents for much of the day, including when they stopped at her grandfather’s home for dinner.
‘‘It would have been nice if they had left her there,’’ he said.
Maureen Boyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.