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SmartWater leads to Chesterfield restaurant arrest

Posted at 9:56 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 14:35:22-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Police are crediting water for helping officers arrest a man accused of breaking into a Chesterfield restaurant.

But not just any water, SmartWater CSI.

SmartWater CSI is a crime-prevention product Chesterfield Police first endorsed in 2019, according to this YouTube video.

When the product is sprayed on a person or an object, it leaves an invisible mark that lasts for at least five years and can only be seen under UV lighting. The mark contains a unique code associated with a particular user.

"At about 11 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, police responded to an alarm call at the Ettrick Deli [3608 E. River Road], which has been burglarized several times in recent months. Following previous break-ins, the business was equipped with SmartWater CSI," a Chesterfield Police spokesperson wrote in an email. "When officers arrived at the business, they located a male suspect; he ignored verbal commands from officers and instead fled on foot. After a short foot pursuit, he was apprehended. Using the issued light, officers saw that the suspect's clothing and items in his possession were marked with SmartWater CSI."

Christopher S. Gaines, 52, of no permanent address, was charged with breaking and entering, petit larceny – third offense, and trespassing.

A Chesterfield Police spokesperson indicated this was the county's first arrest credited to SmartWater CSI.

A 2016 article on SmartWater CSI indicated the product's main accomplishment was to deter property crime, not necessarily arrest those who commit property crime.

"When thieves know an area is marked, they don't want to risk it," SmartWater CSI spokesperson Antonio Arserio told the Sun-Sentinel in 2016.

Chesterfield Police said about 200 homes in three subdivisions use SmartWater CSI.