At 4:36 p.m. today, I heard a knock on my front door and opened it to two Southern Shores police officers who asked me if I was on the property at 63 Ocean Blvd. today, taking a photograph.
I said no, I was in the public right of way in front of 64 Ocean Blvd., which is a vacant 50-foot-wide lot between 62 Ocean Blvd., the red-roofed white house owned by Steven Love and his wife, Kathleen Gorman, and 64A Ocean Blvd, taking a photograph.
The officer then told me that the homeowner at 62 Ocean Blvd.—whom I established as Mr. Love—had been informed by a worker that he “had to chase me off of his property.” Mr. Love was not at his home to be able to see anything firsthand, but he nonetheless called the police to report a trespass that did not occur.
Again, I said no, I never left the public right of way, and I explained to the officers why I was taking the photograph. It will accompany a blog that I have written concerning development of the 50-foot-wide lot, which Mr. Love’s and Ms. Gorman’s limited liability corporation, For the Love of Pete, LLC, owns, and town politics.
I did not tell the officers that my blog post, which will appear tomorrow, is titled, “The Saga of an Architect: Councilman Chris Nason and His Designs on the Southern Shores Oceanfront.”
Councilman Nason is the architect for the houses at 62 and 64A Ocean Blvd., and for the proposed house at 64 Ocean Blvd.
Chris Smith, who was working on the house at 64A Ocean Blvd., which is the large Mediterranean-style house, actually crossed Ocean Boulevard to speak with me in the driveway in front of 65 Ocean Blvd., which was unoccupied. He did not “chase me off” of Mr. Love’s property. I did not see him until I was on the west side of the road, having crossed over in the markd pedestrian right of way after taking the photograph I needed.
If Mr. Smith told Mr. Love, who lives in Mechanicsville, Va., that he “chased me off,” then he told an audacious, bold-faced lie. For what purpose, I have no idea.
I am very careful not to walk outside of the public right of way when I take photographs for this blog.
Mr. Smith, who introduced himself after he asked my name—which I readily provided—asked what I was doing. I told him I was a reporter for The Southern Shores Beacon and that I was writing a political blog about the development of the 50-foot-wide lot between the two houses. I told him I was photographing the vacant lot (see above) and that I walked in the right of way in front of 62 Ocean Blvd. because my shadow kept intruding upon shots that I was taking in front of 64 Ocean Blvd.
Mr. Smith seemed to accept this explanation and then told me that someone had vandalized Mr. Love’s house, writing a word underneath the word “Glory,” which appears above the driveway, and drawing male genitalia in black paint. Damage caused by the obscene graffiti, he said, would cost Mr. Love $20,000-$25,000 to repair.
I was shocked by the vandalism, but even more so by the fact that Mr. Smith did not spare any details in telling me what had been painted. I can assure you that he did not use anatomically correct terms, and that glory h— was a term I had to look up on the Internet to understand.
I had seen workers cleaning up the house’s façade, but I never imagined that it had been defaced. I thought the workers were performing regular maintenance.
Mr. Smith and I spoke pleasantly for several minutes about the vandalism, how it could have happened undetected, who might have done it, and other such crimes that occur in Southern Shores. People have stolen things from the front yards of my rental cottage and year-round house, I told him. That Mr. Smith then reported to Mr. Love that he “chased” me off of the property, frankly, is beneath contempt.
I took the above photograph at 3 p.m. on my cell phone. Just over 90 minutes later, the police paid me a visit.
My name is a difficult one to catch, much less spell. I doubt Mr. Smith caught it, but somehow Mr. Love, whom I have never met, identified me and, rather than call me and talk about the encounter I had with Mr. Smith—I’m in the book—he called the police.
I told the two officers, who were very courteous and professional, that Mr. Love’s report constituted harassment. He threw his weight around. He bullied me, and I resent it.
I sincerely hope the police find and arrest the criminals who vandalized Mr. Love’s seaside home.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, Dec. 6, 2018