4 Charged in Paintball Thefts

4 Charged in Paintball Thefts

Fairfax County police have charged four people — one of them, a juvenile — in connection with a break-in and burglary of a Chantilly paintball-supplies store. They are Rodolfo "John" Gaila, 26, of 5945 Havener House Way in Centreville; two of his cousins, Jeffrey Gaila, 20, and Miguel Mercadal, 18, also of that address; plus a boy, 16.

In an Aug. 10 affidavit for a warrant to search John Gaila's townhouse — as well as a jeep registered to his wife and possibly used by him in the burglary — police Det. Lincoln Kieffer of the Criminal Investigation Section presented details about the case.

He wrote that on July 29, around 2 a.m., the Check It Paintball Supplies store at 14511-F Lee Jackson Memorial Highway was burglarized. Intruders smashed out the front glass door and stole merchandise from the displays. The store owner, James Jadryev, estimated the loss at more than $5,000.

HE ALSO provided a list of the stolen property, including: Paintball guns and/or parts made by the manufacturer DYE, WDP model Angel compressed air tanks and associated gauges for paintball guns, plus paintball masks and jerseys.

Shortly after the break-in, wrote Kieffer, a witness "observed a subject running from the store, carrying a paintball gun. [He] followed as the subject ran into a black Jeep Wrangler with a black soft top waiting at a location close by."

Later that day, Kieffer obtained the surveillance videotape from the 7-Eleven store within the same shopping center as the paintball store. The witness then looked at still photographs of the video and identified a subject in them as wearing a shirt and shorts similar in nature to the clothing worn by the subject he'd observed after the burglary.

The date and time recorded on that videotape was July 29 at 1:52 a.m. Wrote the detective: "This was eight minutes before the break-in." The following week, Kieffer created flyers alerting people about the stolen merchandise and spoke with several paintball merchants and patrons in the region.

On Aug. 9, a man contacted him and reported that, on Aug. 7, five people entered the PEVS Paintball store in Manassas. "The subjects brought three compressed-air tanks into the store and purchased mounting accessories for the tanks," wrote Kieffer. "Those air tanks matched the detailed description of [the ones] stolen on July 29."

The detective noted, as well, that the suspects arrived at the store in a black Jeep Wrangler with a particular Virginia registration. He then obtained a surveillance tape from the PEVS store, plus credit-card receipt information from the purchases made there. Wrote Kieffer: "The name on the credit card was Rodolfo Gaila."

On the surveillance tape, the detective allegedly saw among the five Aug. 7 patrons a man who appeared to be the same person that was in the 7-Eleven store eight minutes before the July 29 burglary.

According to Kieffer, "Investigation revealed that John Gaila had been a patron of PEVS Paintball store" and lived at the Havener House address. He also discovered that the DMV lists Rodolfo Gaila at that address, too. Police say John and Rodolfo Gaila are the same person.

"ON JULY 28, a subject claiming to be John Gaila made a purchase by credit card at Check It Paintball at approximately [8:15 p.m.], which is six hours before the break-in [there]," wrote the detective. Then on Aug. 10, Kieffer reportedly saw the 1998 Jeep Wrangler used the night of the crime parked in front of the Havener House address.

"I was informed that, on the same day at approximately 12 noon, three of the same subjects showed up at PEVS Paintball," he wrote. "[They were] looking to purchase an owner's manual for a DYE paintball gun similar to the two paintball guns which were stolen."

Police executed the search warrants for Gaila's home and the jeep on Aug. 11. From the Jeep, they seized a pair of running shoes.

From the home, they seized a multitude of paintball equipment and paraphernalia, including: Angel, DYE and other brands of air tanks; a backpack with paintball cartridges and holder; a paintball gun; DYE and other brands of masks; paintball jerseys and trousers; another paintball holder and cartridges; padded vests; checkbooks and other documents; paintball catalogs; wallets; athletic shoes; a passport; a handgun and a rifle.

Then on Aug. 16, Kieffer requested another search warrant for the Jeep "for any trace evidence — to include glass particles/fragments that might have been transferred from the scene of the crime to the interior of the vehicle." The next day, at 9:15 a.m., the search warrant was executed, and police seized three particles of glass.

As for the arrests, on Aug. 11 police charged John Gaila with four crimes: Burglary, grand larceny, removal of serial numbers and theft with intent to distribute. He was released from jail, the same day, on $5,000 bond and has a Sept. 29 court date.

Police charged the teen-ager with the same offenses, except for removal of serial numbers. They obtained juvenile petitions for him on Aug. 19. Jeffrey Gaila and Miguel Mercadal were each charged, Aug. 19, with burglary and receiving stolen property and both have Oct. 5 court dates.