Recent incidents in West Ghent, Downtown Norfolk spark concern

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 19:52:40-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Herman Shelanski was unloading his car after returning from a trip Monday afternoon when he says someone started stealing the bags from his car.

"It was hard to believe that in broad daylight and I'm standing right here that they had the audacity to grab stuff out of my trunk right in front of my house," Shelanski told News 3 on Wednesday.

The incident happened just after 4 p.m. in West Ghent.

Shelanski confronted the thieves and he says they pulled out guns and told him to back up. He snapped a picture of their car as it sped away and called police.

"The response [from police] I thought was really good, but unfortunately there seems to be a lot of this going around," he said.

A spike in auto thefts in Norfolk prompted interim Police Chief Mike Goldsmith to address the city council last week, where he said more officers are being put into patrol.

In nearby Downtown Norfolk, the Downtown Norfolk Civic League sent a message out to its members, warning them about an incident they say happened on July 20.

A man said he was talking to people outside of Domino's at about 10 p.m. on Granby Street, when two guys came up behind him. One of them punched him in the back of the head and ran away.

"This member wanted me to send out a notice to all to be 'vigilant walking up and down our streets.' He doesn't want anyone else to be injured," the civic league president wrote.

Police and city leaders are trying to get a handle on the crime.

"There is no greater priority for us than public safety. Lawlessness, bad behavior in the city of Norfolk just won't be tolerated and there's no place for it," Mayor Kenny Alexander said during last week's meeting.

As for Shelanski, he got some of his things back, but not everything.

"It's just really audacious that these kids think they have free reign over us and that they're going to be able to drive anywhere and do anything at any time they want. I just hope the police catch them with the right amount of evidence and prosecute them appropriately," he said.