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Brevard deputy fired after accusation he stole paintball equipment

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A man searching the Internet stumbled across his stolen paintball gun and was shocked when he  found out who was selling it.

When Jan Michael Matos-Reyes' $1,200 paintball gun and gear disappeared from a Brevard County paintball field, he was persistent about trying to get it back.

"In the beginning, it was every day. As time went on and I started kind of moving on, it was becoming every week and week," said Matos-Reyes.

He tirelessly scoured the Internet on sites like Craigslist and eBay, hoping someone would try to sell it online.

His detective work paid off. Last week, five months after his gun was stolen, Matos-Reyes stumbled across the rare gun for sale on eBay.

The seller posted a picture, including a very fine detail: its serial number.

"And then when I saw the back of the gun, I could make out four of the five numbers," said Matos-Reyes.

He kept in contact with the seller and told Brevard County deputies, who arranged to meet the person at a Palm Bay convenience store.

They said when they did, they were shocked to find that the seller was one of their own: Patrol Deputy Matthew Plymale.

"I was speechless. Nothing was going through my mind. I was just shocked. You know what I'm saying?" said Matos-Reyes.

Arrest reports said Plymale was on patrol near the paintball field around the time the gun was stolen.

Investigators said they found two rooms full of paintball equipment, masks, guns and other supplies at Plymale's Palm Bay home.

Plymale, 33, was arrested Friday night and was terminated from his position once he bonded out of jail, according to sheriff's officials.

In the warrant for his arrest, Plymale said he bought the equipment from someone, but couldn't name the person or find records of the sales.

Matos-Reyes said he's happyPlymale will no longer patrol the streets and he's also happy he has his paintball gun back.