Ettrick Deli burglary suspect caught with help of unique forensic technology


CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A popular deli in Ettrick has been burglarized multiple times over the last six months. Chesterfield Police recently arrested one suspect thanks for a unique forensic technology.

Lieutenant Stephen Fortier with CPD told 8News their department is the only jurisdiction in the state that uses SmartWater CSI .

Etrrick Deli, located near Virginia State University, is a family-owned business that’s been serving up delicious food for more than three decades However, the staple business has been a target of crime.
8News covered a string of burglaries in December of last year when police confirmed four break-ins in only two months.

It’s been here for a long time so I’m shocked to see they’ve been getting robbed,” said James Griffin, a regular customer at the deli.

Since our report in December, authorities say two more break-ins have been reported, bringing the total to six over the last six months. The latest incident happened two weeks ago, but unlike the rest this incident garnered an arrest.

52-year old Christopher Gaines was taken into custody on April 11. Gains charged with several offenses, including breaking and entering, petit larceny – third offense– and trespassing.
Officers responded to a triggered alarm at the deli and found Gaines who police say ignored verbal commands and ran away on foot. After a brief pursuit Gaines was arrested.

Authorities said in a statement, “Officers knew the business was protected by SmartWater CSI, so they retrieved the issued light to check for the substance, which glows green under the light, on the suspect’s clothes. As you can see in the attached photo, the substance was there!”

The department posted an arrest photo that shows a yellow-green fluorescent color on Gaines’ clothing, which is the result of the technology.

“SmartWater is a unique tool,” Lt. Fortier said. “We’re the only jurisdiction in the Commonwealth that uses it.”

Fortier showed 8News how the technology works on Monday afternoon. He held up a small light, similar to a slender flashlight saying, “this is the SmartWater light. It’s a unique frequency UV light.”

The solution comes inside of a kit. For homes, the liquid can be marked on various items using a brush and for a business, there are several ways to utilize the technology. For example, the liquid can deploy and spray when triggered.

“They’re triggered by you entering the business, or entering the vehicle or a space you’re not suppose to be in,” said Lt. Fortier.

To the eye the solution is colorless, but under a UV light, it glows, pointing law enforcement in the right direction. Lt. Fortier tells 8News the solution lasts three weeks on the skin and up to five years on clothing. He adds the forensic technology has been with the department for a few years, but the Ettrick Deli arrest is the department’s first ‘commercial success with the technology.

Gaines is only facing charges in April’s incident. A spokesperson for CDP says the other five burglaries are under investigation.

If you know anything give police a call. Also if you are interested in SmartWater CSI for your home or business call the Community Services Division at 804-318-8699.

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