Selbyville residents concerned about crime

Break-ins, vandalism and aggressive dogs have some Selbyville residents on edge. Incidents last month on one particular block drew attention at Tuesday night’s council meeting, and residents say they want to ensure the safety and well-being of the town, as well as protection for themselves.

Tyler Galloway of Duke Street told town council that his home was broken into and burglarized twice in a matter of three days in mid-August. During both incidents, Galloway was home, but asleep, as the break-ins occurred at night. The first time, the suspect stole Galloway’s computer, phone, wallet and keys. Galloway was awakened when his car alarm went off. The second time, the thief attempted to take the modem for the computer.

“He set the ringer off on the phone, and that woke me up,” explained Galloway. “I almost got a hold of him, but he got away.” He added that being at nighttime, he could not identify the suspect. “I couldn’t pick him out in a series of pictures,” said Galloway. “He was dark complexion and it was dark out. I wouldn’t attempt to put the wrong person in jeopardy.”

Items have been taken for fingerprinting, although Galloway said he has not heard back from the police department. In addition to the break-ins, Galloway noted that his car antenna was broken off, items from his home were found on other properties and other items, including a leaf blower, had been stolen from neighbors, too.

“I want to make the town aware of what’s going on,” said Galloway. “Speaking with officers, they believed the suspects are young or teenagers that live in a nearby apartment building, and that would mean our back yards serve as a highway for them. I want to let people know to lock their doors and windows. No one really knows what’s going on, but once they hear, I bet they’re locking their doors.”

“We will definitely look into the issue,” noted town councilman and police commissioner Jay Murray. He added that, while a neighborhood watch was, at one point, implemented in a local community, it fell apart due to lack of interest.

“Quite frankly,” he added, “it became inactive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be started again. We will examine the issue.”

“If there’s a rash of break-ins,” added Mayor Clifton Murray, “people need to be aware of it. We have to look into it, and we’ll find out what’s going on.” The town’s curfew, for anyone younger than 18, runs from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Break-ins weren’t the only concern for the block, located less than a quarter-mile from town hall. In early August, a 15-year-old cat belonging to Scott and Jodie Gore of Parker Alley was allegedly attacked and killed by a neighbor’s dog, identified as a pit bull. Selbyville police were contacted about the incident.

Scott Gore noted the difficulty he had with the dog. “It terrorizes my yard,” he said, “runs up here, kills my cat, chases my neighbor and even chased the police officer who came over here.”

Jodie Gore added that the residents who own the dog have five dogs that she knows of. “It’s not the dog’s fault,” she said. “It’s the owner’s responsibility, and the dogs aren’t being taken care of.”

Neighbor Danny Knecht, also of Duke Street, said he has also had run-ins with the canine, which was described as “aggressive.”

“It’s gotten loose and ravaged through the yard and my garden,” Knecht said. “It’s totally aggressive all the time, barking at all hours through the night. If you have a situation where lives are threatened and domestic animals are destroyed there should be something set up to safeguard against that.”

People in attendance at the Sept. 8 meeting voiced their concern, stating that animals such as this one should be taken care of before a child or person is harmed.

Members of the town council and Police Chief Scott Collins emphasized that, due to training and proper equipment, the SPCA is the organization responsible for handling such matters, though police officers will respond to calls made when a person’s well-being is threatened. Town Manager Robert Dickerson later stated that the dog held responsible for the Gore’s incident was retrieved by the Georgetown SPCA and euthanized. “The SPCA was notified and responded,” he said.

If any further incidents suspicious or threatening in nature occur, the public is asked to contact police or the SPCA.