Man accused of ‘booby trapping’ water meter hole

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A Chesapeake man is accused of trying to steal water from the city.

Court records say he rigged his home so that anyone who tried to disconnect his service, would get an electric shock. Now, John Cirillo is facing felony charges for malicious wounding and stealing water.

What 23-year-old Cirillo is accused of doing in the water meter hole landed him in jail.

“I think it’s sad someone got hurt, and they had to resort to that,” said Eva Woodruff, Cirillo’s neighbor.

Court documents obtained by 10 on Your Side claim Department of Public Utilities employee Donna Wireman got shocked when she put her hand in the water meter hole.

Document: Affidavit for search warrant for John Cirillo 

According to the probable cause for the search warrant, Cirillo was busy inside the hole:

  • On March 24: Delinquent door notice delivered to Cirillo’s home for unpaid water charges
  • On April 2: The water is turned off at Cirillo’s home for unpaid water charges
  • On May 28: The water meter at Cirillo’s home was found on and 8.54 consumptions were registered. The meter was removed by Donna Wireman.
  • On May 28: Later that day, another meter reader found a straight pipe and removed the illegal connection.
  • On May 28: After that, Wireman returned to the house and found yet another illegal connection with batteries attached, rigged to cause harm.

Court documents say Wireman found there was no meter in the hole, but there was a plastic pipe allowing water to flow from the street to the house, which allowed the stealing of water. Wireman touched it and there were two batteries connected to that plastic pipe, and it shocked her. Wireman was shocked so badly she required medical attention. went looking for Cirillo at his home. A woman answered the door and was asked if she could explain what happened. She said, “Um, no sorry,” before slamming the door.

Cirillo was still in the Chesapeake City Jail and at first agreed to an on-camera interview with Then he changed his mind.

The Search Inventory and Return shows what police found in Cirillo’s house:

  • 2 rolls of garden hose
  • kitchen knife
  • pliers
  • electrical tape

The search warrant also was taken out to find similar 12 volt batteries that were used to make the booby trap inside the water meter, but none were found in the house.

Cirillo will be back in court August 12 for a preliminary hearing.

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