If you regularly read police reports, you know that the Speedway on Gaillia has a big problem with homeless people, panhandlers, drug users, and the mentally ill.
A representative of Speedway Corporate Security contacted police to demand action on a troubling issue at the store. The security employee complained about the number of people loitering near the store and harassing customers and employees.
The man was shocked to find out how many times a day police respond to complaints of people who are barred from the property trespassing. He asked the police what they were doing to curb this activity.
The officer explained that PPD responds every time someone calls them with a complaint or any time they observe suspicious activity.
Rehab Centers to Blame?
The officers explained that a large number of rehab centers in the area draw people to the area who never leave. The officer also blamed the close proximity of government housing that makes it convenient for people to walk to the store.
The Speedway representative said he planned to contact the City Manager’s Office to express his concern as many employees and customers have complained to Speedway about this issue.
PPD assured the man that the police department would continue to respond when called.
Last fall, Clerks at the Speedway reported a man kept coming into the place, touching employees inappropriately, and saying sexual things to female employees. Police advised them to call officers immediately if the man came back into the building.
At that time, police issued a public warning about aggressive panhandlers in the area, many targeting shoppers at the nearby Aldi.
According to an official release from the department, Portsmouth Police received complaints from several women of homeless panhandlers acting aggressively towards shoppers at Aldi’s. They seemed to target older ladies.
PPD advised women to back away and immediately call 911 or activate the panic button on their key fob if they have one.
There have already been physical attacks at businesses in the area including a sexual assault. Repeat sex offender Jimmy Lee Barnett forced a woman into her vehicle and punched her numerous times in the head and face area at Save A Lot. The victim was able to fight back and Barnett fled towards Speedway wearing only one shoe.
According to a post by PPD, “We do not want this to happen to anyone else. If you are there and see someone being harassed by these men, please call and observe what is going on and relay it to the dispatcher. Please watch out for each other.”