Arrest of popular Martinsville businessman shocks those who knew him

MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - "It was a big surprise," said Chris White, owner of Chris's Custom Framing in Uptown Martinsville, of Larry Neil Goodman's arrest.

"I Think everybody here was just shocked," said Jerelle Cartter, a co-owner of Crossfit 276 in Uptown Martinsville.

Larry Neil Goodman is known by people in Martinsville as Laurence Vanderwood, the happy, kind, social man who worked at Serendipity Coffee House and Bistro.

But he is also the man who has been wanted in Virginia Beach since October of 2011, accused of embezzling money from the hotel he worked at the time.

"He runs two very nice businesses up town, so it was a surprise and very disappointing actually," White explained.

Goodman's mother owns Serendipity Coffee House and Bistro. She didn't want to go on camera Tuesday but said her son managed the PR for the business while she managed the finances.

Like the business owners WSLS spoke to, his arrest was a complete shock to her.

She said his alias of Laurence Vanderwood was the pen name he was using to write a book.

Cartter says he frequents Serendipity and Goodman's arrest isn't going to change that.

"We all pretty much support him and therefore we're out here praying for him," Cartter stressed.

White says the arrest does not change his perception of the businesses in Up Town. "I've been here doing business for over 15 years now and nothing like this has ever happened or even been rumored," he pointed out.

Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn says there have been rumors that federal agents are going to seize the business and shut it down but that is not true.

He emphasized that the business is not under any kind of investigation whatsoever.

"I don't have any information here that anything similar would have taken place," said Chief Dunn.

In the mean time, it will be business as usual at Serendipity.

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