A Woodbridge man was sentenced Friday to four months in jail for stealing from guests staying at hotels in Chantilly and Springfield. He is Raul R. Vallejos, 45, of 3509 Soffit Place.
BEFORE SENTENCE was pronounced, he stood and apologized for his actions, but Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kelly Pearson said he deserved to be incarcerated. His son-in-law was also involved in these crimes and, said Pearson, "They picked a specific target and followed them."
In a Nov. 19, 2005 affidavit for a warrant to search Vallejos' red, 1992 Honda Civic hatchback for possible evidence, Police Officer 1st Class Michael Scanlon of the Fair Oaks District Station explained the case against him.
He further described the car as having gray, primer paint on its right rear quarter panel and the words, "Switchin Lanes," in white letters on the rear window and both rear, side windows. And he stated that, on Nov. 18, at 8:39 p.m., this particular vehicle was used in a larceny at the Wingate Inn at 3940 Centerview Drive in Chantilly.
"The subject was seen via surveillance cameras entering the establishment and [was] recognized by the front-desk clerk as being there on previous dates and involved in grand larcenies from [a] patron's room," wrote Scanlon. "During this incident [on Nov. 18], the subject was seen in the second-floor hallway and then entering into a room and leaving shortly after, through the rear stairwell leading to the parking lot."
Scanlon wrote that he stopped this person in the parking lot, exiting that same stairwell, and that he matched the physical description of the intruder given by witnesses. He was identified as Vallejos.
The officer noted that Vallejos had in his possession a green backpack with a Chinese Visa belonging to a person Scanlon identified as Victim One. He wrote that she'd been staying on the second floor of the hotel and reported to responding officers the theft of her purse and belongings.
FURTHERMORE, stated Scanlon, Vallejos also had the keys to the Honda hatchback in his possession, plus that vehicle's alarm pad. Then, during the follow-up investigation, a detective from the Franconia District Station told Scanlon that the Comfort Inn at 6560 Loisdale Court in Springfield had just experienced a similar grand larceny at 8:05 p.m.
A man Scanlon called Victim Two reported this offense, telling police that someone had stolen a black tote bag, a Nikon digital camera with black carrying case and personal identification from him. Scanlon then noted that he remembered seeing a similar camera and tote bag in the rear seating area of the Honda hatchback and "believes the camera and tote bag to be the same" as those stolen from Victim Two.
Police executed the search warrant Nov. 19 at 2:26 a.m., seizing from Vallejos' vehicle a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, a black tote bag with "New York" painted on the front and five 100-yen bills. They charged him with two counts of grand larceny.
The grand jury indicted him on Nov. 21, and on Jan. 23 in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty. He returned last Friday, March 17, for sentencing before Judge Stanley Klein. Defense attorney Thomas Haddock told Klein his client does drywall finishing at construction sites and has a wife, two children and a stepson.
Haddock said Vallejos had worked full time since he was released from jail on bond. "He accepts responsibility for what he did and is mortified and embarrassed to be here in front of his wife," said Haddock. "He's done a stupid thing and he's going to pay for it." The attorney also suggested that Vallejos be placed in the work-release program so he could continue to support his family.
Then, via a Spanish-language interpreter, Vallejos said, "I regret what I've done. I have three main goals in my life, right now — the future of my children, my work and my religion."
BUT THE JUDGE had the final say. "This is not a random act," said Klein. "This is something that was planned, and targeted against a particular group of people visiting the United States to see family members — like your family members. And you decided, with your co-defendant, to steal from them, and punishment is appropriate."
He then sentenced Vallejos to 18 months in prison, suspending all but four months, and placing him on two years active probation. Since Vallejos has already served 2 1/2 months in jail, he still has 1 1/2 months more to serve.
"I'll order the sheriff to evaluate you for potential placement in the work-release program," said Klein. "And as a result of this conviction, a sample of your blood will be drawn for DNA analysis [for entry into the Virginia data bank for felons]. The two counts are to run concurrently."