NORFOLK — Police arrested man they say provided vehicles from an illegal vehicle rental agency to suspects involved in multiple burglaries in August and September.
According to Norfolk Police spokeswoman Karen Parker-Chesson, Keith Maurice Jones, 40, of the 2000 block of Piedmont Avenue in Portsmouth, purchased vehicles from the city using a false business named “Quick Rentals, Inc.”
Parker-Chesson says Jones then titled and registered the vehicles to “March-E Fragrances” and likely knew what the vehicles were used for.
According to police, the following burglary/residential incidents occurred with suspect vehicles all registered to “March-E Fragrances.”
August 22, 2013, 500 block of Timothy Avenue (suspects arrested)
August 23, 2013, 100 block of W. Bayview Boulevard (suspects arrested)
August 28, 2013, 8400 block of Lynn River Road (no arrests)
September 2, 2013, 300 block of Lakebridge Drive (no arrests)
Parker-Chesson said on August 24, a vehicle registered to “March-E Fragrances” was stopped for a traffic infraction. The driver of the vehicle led investigators to additional vehicles.
Authorities said Jones also had some of the vehicles crushed at a Chesapeake salvage yard.
Warrants are issued charging Jones with 22 counts each of obtaining documents from DMV when not entitled thereto, altering or forging certificate of title or registration card, unlawfully transacting or offering to transact business as a corporation without authorization.
Jones is being held at the Norfolk City Jail.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Where do you want your children to grow up? Somewhere safe? Somewhere that they can ride their bikes to their friends house? Somewhere you can send them out to play and come home when the street lights come on? Where you don’t have to worry about your general safety 24/7?
Not here…. Maybe you haven’t heard of Denby Park or Wards Corner. This is our neighborhood. Where we live, work and play. In fear. The city for the last few years has promised to remove the run down section 8 apartments that even the cops hate going into. Vast mazes of blight and trash create a hiding place for crime.
They tore down 7. They are tearing down 7 more. However due to budget cut’s we are loosing the war on crime in our wonderful little spot in Norfolk. Or what was once wonderful and could be again.
When I took these photos I did not venture far in. It was EARLY in the morning and I was armed with a tazer. You heard right. You don’t go wandering around this area. It was a risk I took with my camera equipment because it needs to be seen. People need to see what the confines of this area are like. I plan to do more as I go. I plan to take shots of the beauty in our little neighborhood also.
This photo series will be special too me. I hope it shows that even in the less then wanted areas of the city, beauty can reside. I also wish to show WHY the city should finish their promise to the residents of Ward’s Corner and the surrounding neighborhoods.
WVEC Funding to help revitalize Wards Corner neighborhood slashed
WVEC is reporting on the reduced funding planned for the Wards Corner Neighborhood plan. Their article and video can be viewed on their website.
I encourage you to contact City Council either by email or by attending the public budget hearing scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 6pm at Granby High School. Their contact info is located on the City Council website: http://www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?NID=533
The WVEC article:
NORFOLK — For years the City of Norfolk would allocate millions of dollars to revitalizing the Wards Corner area, but this year the funds are getting slashed.
City spokeswoman Lori Crouch says the City Manager was able to scrape and provide $750,000 for the proposed FY 2014 budget.
“The city is fiscally stressed,” said Crouch.
Here’s how the numbers break down:
Year Allocation for Implementation of the Wards Corner Plan
2014 $750,000 (proposed)
Less money being allocated to the neighborhood isn’t sitting well with residents, businesses owners or patrons of Wards Corner.
Martin Thomas Jr. says less money coming in now could jeopardize overall progress.
Previous funds were used to purchase and demolish blighted and crime-inducing properties in sections of Denby Park. The City purchased 68 units in 2011 and demolished them in 2012. In addition, 37 apartment units were bought in 2013. Once the tenants are relocated the units will be demolished.
Next year, a new shopping plaza featuring Harris Teeter is scheduled to open in Wards Corner.
Thomas is concerned if there is no effort in ridding blighted properties around the shopping center, it will have a negative impression on investors.
“If we can show those businesses that this is a nice place to open and you are going to get a good clientele, that effect will cause more and more redevelopment in the Wards Corner area,” Thomas said.
The City of Norfolk has posted its proposed 2014 fiscal year budget to the City of Norfolk website. Disappointingly the City Manager has only proposed allocating $750,000 to the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan. That is the least amount of funding allocated to the Wards Corner Plan since 2007.
Year Allocation for Implementation of the W. C. Plan
2014 750,000 (proposed)
Wards Corner Now, the Wards Corner Task Force, and the various civic leagues in the Wards Corner area have been resolute in their request that neighborhood plan funding be used to purchase and demolish the blighted and crime inducing properties in the Texas streets section of Denby Park. In recent years the City has been successful in purchasing 37 units in 2013 and 68 units in 2011/2012.
Additionally, the proposed 2014 budget includes $500,000 to provide for the design and construction of improvements to the Granby Street and Louisiana Drive intersection. This is a part of the intersection improvements required by Harris Teeter for the new shopping center in the business district.
Seven people were shot late Saturday in two separate incidents that happened about 20 minutes and 2 miles apart.
None of the injuries was life-threatening, police said.
The first incident occurred about 11:30 p.m., in the 7800 block of San Antonio Blvd. Five people were taken to a hospital, including two men who have been charged.
The two are suspects in an attempted home robbery that apparently led to the shooting, a news release said. The three other shooting victims appear to have been the robbery’s targets.
Trenton J. Ore, 25, and Joven K. Covington, 23, both of Norfolk, face charges including eight counts of use of a firearm, four counts of robbery and three counts of malicious wounding.
The second shooting happened about 11:50 p.m. in the 1300 block of nearby Johnstons Road.
Detectives said two men had been in a verbal altercation with another man during a family gathering. The two men followed the third man after he left a home on Johnstons Road, but the third man later shot the other two, police said. A bullet also struck an occupied vehicle, but nobody inside was injured.
Darryl Lee Speller, 22, of Norfolk faces charges including two counts each of malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied vehicle and use of a firearm. He is related to the two shooting victims, police said.
Denby Park properties to be purchased by City of Norfolk. RED highlighted properties are to be purchased in 2013. BLUE highlighted properties were purchased in 2011.
City Council will be voting on January 29, 2013 on the second round of derelict property purchases in the Denby Park neighborhood. The addresses of the properties to be purchases are: 308 E. Little Creek Road, 317 E. Little Creek Road, 319 E. Little Creek Road, 325 E. Little Creek Road, 328 Fort Worth Ave, 334 Fort Worth Ave, and 338 Fort Worth Ave.
These 2013 purchases are in addition to the properties on San Antonio Boulevard which were purchased in 2011 and eventually torn down.
These purchases are in accordance with the 2004 Wards Corner Comprehensive plan.
The full press release is below:
NORFOLK –The City of Norfolk has reached agreements to purchase seven properties located in the 300 blocks of Fort Worth Avenue and East Little Creek Road in the Denby Park section of the city. These acquisitions further the Greater Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan and the city’s ongoing efforts to foster safe and healthy neighborhoods which will sustain future generations.
The agreements include the acquisition of 37 apartments on seven properties for $1.45 million. City Council will vote on the purchase and sale agreements during the Council session scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2013.
The property owners are working with their tenants to relocate them. Once the properties are vacant, the city will conduct an environmental impact study then the apartments will be demolished.
In August 2011, the City of Norfolk purchased 68 apartment units on seven properties in the 300 block of San Antonio Boulevard for $2.68 million. Those apartments were demolished in April 2012. The city is working with the community to determine the best use for the open space.
Jill Nolin at the Virginian-Pilot wrote an article that was published today, January 16, 2013, indicating that the City of Norfolk is preparing to purchase blighted properties in Wards Corner and Ocean View.
The city is poised to spend millions in the coming weeks as it buys the former Travelers Inn in Ocean View and more property in the Denby Park area of Wards Corner as part of plans to revitalize struggling neighborhoods.
City officials were tight-lipped about the proposed Wards Corner deals, but Martin Thomas Jr., vice president of the Wards Corner Civic League and a member of the city’s planning commission, said residents have been pushing the city to focus on the 300 block of East Little Creek Road and the so-called “Texas streets” behind it.
. . .
In the current budget, city officials allocated $2 million for acquisitions in the Wards Corner area.
. . .
In Wards Corner, the city is looking to clean up the Denby Park area. The city has finished its negotiations, but a deal has not been completed, said Councilman Andy Protogyrou. He declined to comment further because of the “sensitivity of the process.”
Winn said city officials want to further reduce housing density in the area by targeting sites with apartment buildings. Last year, seven buildings in the 300 block of San Antonio Blvd. were torn down on property the city acquired for $2.7 million.
The Pilot, WVEC, WTKR, and WAVY are all reporting that the man was shot and killed at about 11p.m. on November 26, 2012 in the 400 block of Harvard Street near its intersection with Newport Ave. This is the area behind Granby High School.
From the Pilot:
Police took a man into custody after a fatal shooting late Monday.
About 11 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Harvard St., after reports of a gunshot victim, police spokesman Chris Amos said. They found a man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police took another man into custody, Amos said. There had been a verbal altercation between the two before the shooting.
Police have not yet released the name of either man.
We live in Denby park. If you stand in our drive way and look down to your right, you will see a beautiful tree lined street, the trees bloom beautiful in the spring. The yards are kept up and the homes charming. People walk their dogs, kids play in their backyards. Neighbors know and take care of each other.
If you turn and look the other way you will see run down apartment buildings on Galveston. People sitting outside drinking beer, yelling and loitering. If you looked at night you would likely see a young lady or two walking up and down the street offering her services. You would be brave to cross from our side to the other side. We just don’t do it.
My children cannot ride their bikes, play out front and climb those beautiful blooming trees in the spring, and we sure can’t leave our doors or cars unlocked. We are awakened by gun shots and sirens on a weekly basis it seems.
City of Norfolk, you disappoint me. When we were looking for a home we found this charming 5 bedroom, we were told the projects were coming down, the city installed cameras. 4 years later, we are still waiting. We have witnessed no improvement.
Wards Corner has so much potential. While I am excited about the upcoming improvements I think the city is wasting their money until they deal with Denby Park. It just festers like a boil in the community. IF I had my wish they would tear it down tomorrow and build a nice park complex or new homes. We are tired of the excuses, we are tired of a slum lord that keeps passing by. Why are these projects still here?
So Norfolk, I would appreciate it if you would come and tell my children the reason they can’t play in their own front yard safely is because the city keeps finding excuses to fix this problem. Please tell them that you cannot keep their street safe enough for children to play outside. Please don’t tell me again after a group of teens almost robbed my child of his bike and I stupidly chased them down into the ghetto that there is nothing you can do about it. Please tell my neighbors who were robbed point blank at 7 am in the morning last year that it happens. Stop making excuses and clean it up already.
-Tricia in Denby Park. Tricia asked that her last name be kept anonymous to protect herself and her loved ones.
December 2011 brought an increase in the number of reported crimes in the 300 block of E. Little Creek Road, San Antonio Blvd and Fort Worth Ave from 15 in November to 17 in December. These three blocks continue to exert downward pressure on surrounding communities.
We must continue to focus on the acquisition of the substandard housing in these three blocks that breed crime and blight. The stats are below:
Crime Location Date/time
VANDALISM 300 BLOCK E LITTLE CREEK RD 12/24/2011 19:00:00
NARCOTICS VIOLATIONS 7800 BLOCK GALVESTON BLVD 12/23/2011 18:16:00
VANDALISM 300 BLOCK FORT WORTH AV 12/22/2011 23:07:00
ROBBERY-INDIVIDUAL 300 BLOCK FORT WORTH AV 12/22/2011 10:50:00
LARCENY-PARTS FROM AUTO 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/20/2011 9:00:00
LARCENY (ALL OTHERS) 300 BLOCK E LITTLE CREEK RD 12/18/2011 13:40:00
LARCENY-FROM AUTO 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/17/2011 23:00:00
LARCENY-PARTS FROM AUTO 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/17/2011 9:30:00
LARCENY-PARTS FROM AUTO 7800 BLOCK GALVESTON BLVD 12/16/2011 19:30:00
VANDALISM 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/15/2011 22:50:00
LARCENY-FROM BUILDING 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/15/2011 12:30:00
LARCENY (ALL OTHERS) 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/13/2011 13:00:00
VANDALISM 300 BLOCK SAN ANTONIO BLVD 12/13/2011 11:56:00
NARCOTICS VIOLATIONS 300 BLOCK FORT WORTH AV 12/12/2011 10:18:00
NARCOTICS VIOLATIONS 300 BLOCK FORT WORTH AV 12/12/2011 10:18:00
NARCOTICS VIOLATIONS 300 BLOCK E LITTLE CREEK RD 12/12/2011 1:16:00
VANDALISM 300 BLOCK E LITTLE CREEK RD 12/6/2011 22:38:00
December 2011 crime stats for the 300 blocks of San Antonio, Forth Worth, and E. Little Creek Road
An officer was sent to the South Wind complex in the 400 block of Fort Worth Ave. around 7 a.m. on a report that someone was tampering with a vehicle, said Officer Chris Amos, police spokesman. The officer parked perpendicular behind the vehicle, had gotten out of his patrol car and began verbally challenging the man when he put his vehicle in reverse.
The car went backward and hit the police vehicle, pushing it into the officer, who fired, Amos said. The officer wasn’t hurt.
The man pushed the patrol car out of the way and was able to turn around and head west on Fort Worth a short distance before crashing into a vehicle parked on the street, Amos said. The officer followed, but no other shots were fired.
Police broke out the driver’s side window of the vehicle to try to help the man, who died inside the car.
316, 320, 324, 336, 340, 360 and 362 San Antonio Boulevard, highlighted in blue, are being purchased by the City of Norfolk
In accordance with the 2004 Wards Corner Comprehensive plan, the City is purchasing property in Denby Park.
Below is the full press release:
NORFOLK – City Council members and the Wards Corner Task Force have partnered on the need to acquire properties within the Denby Park neighborhood, specifically the Texas Streets section. The acquisition is part of the city’s plan to build safe, healthy neighborhoods that will sustain future generations.
Total units being acquired are 68 apartment units located in seven buildings and the grounds. The parcels include 316, 320, 324, 336, 340, 360 and 362 San Antonio Boulevard.
The acquisition price is a total of $2,686.000. The City Council appropriated in the past two fiscal years for this purchase and those funds were made available July 1. Additionally, the city is seeking council permission to encumber an additional $30,000 ($15,000 for each Agreement) for any related closing costs bringing the total to $2,716.000.
Of the 68 apartment units, 16 are currently occupied. The landlord has agreed to work with the tenants to provide them with equal or better apartments within different properties he currently owns. All of the current leases expire no later than July 2012.
As apartments become vacant or are vacant upon the City taking possession, each unit will be boarded, secured and monitored. Once the buildings are vacant, an environmental study will be conducted and the buildings demolished.
Councilman Andy Protogyrou made the redevelopment of Wards Corner the focus of his 2010 election campaign. Although his ward does not include Denby Park, he represents much of Wards Corner.
“This is something we’ve waited for years to happen in the Wards Corner area. It’s the beginning all of us have looked forward to,” he said.
“Marcus really deserves a lot of credit for making this happen. This shows we can make things happen when we have the political will.”
Crime in Denby Park has been a major factor in the deterioration of the Wards Corner commercial area, city leaders have said.
“Until we take care of the crime issue in Denby Park, we’re not going to make progress in the Wards Corner commercial corridor,” said Martin Thomas Jr., vice president of the Wards Corner Civic League. “So this sounds like really good news.”
Citing continued crime at the KaBoom park, the City and the Denby Park Civic League are making moves to close the park and relocate it to a safer portion of Monticello village.
The park was built in August 2008 by over 400 volunteers and with a grant from the Chrysler Foundation. It is located at 352 San Antonio Blvd.
As a reminder, page 28 of the 2003 Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan:
[T]he high-density walkup apartments constructed in the Texas Streets section of Denby Park are, for the most part, not desirable housing. They have been built too close together, without appropriate provision of open space, and without amenities. The maze-like character of the resulting development, its proximity to highly-travelled Little Creek Road and to Interstate – 64 make it unfortunately suitable for drug dealing and for serving as a base for other criminal activity. The Norfolk police report that the situation in these buildings is getting worse. They recommend major change: the acquisition and demolition of these buildings, before the situation has even more adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods. The many respectable people who are living in these buildings are being victimized by the current situation.
The now cleared site at 1227 W. Little Creek Road where the troubled Alexis Apartment once stood will be recommended to City Council at their Tuesday, June 28th meeting to advertise for a public hearing to rezone from R-14 (High Density Multiple-Family) district to C-2 (Corridor Commercial). The proposed use for the site will be additional parking for the Titustown Recreation Center.