Police: Martinsville deli co-owner went by fake name, arrested for embezzlement

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) An unusual case of suspected embezzlement, an assumed name and a shock in Martinsville

The man, known to most as Laurence Vanderwoods and the co-owner of Serendipity in Uptown Martinsville, is in jail in Virginia Beach.

We are now learning that's not his real name and why his mother says he wanted to use a fake one.

Kathy Johnson says she is in total shock.
She co-owns the Serendipity Coffee House and Bistro with her son.

She says when he moved back here a couple of years ago, he wanted to write a book, so when he told her he was going to use a pen name and she didn't question it.

Johnson did not want to go on camera, but says her coffee and bistro shop in Uptown Martinsville was a little slow Tuesday. Virginia Beach Police tell WDBJ7 Larry Goodman was wanted since 2011 on a felony embezzlement charge. Police say Goodman embezzled over 15 thousand dollars from hotel when he was working there. Last week, Martinsville Police say an anonymous tip led them to find out that Goodman was living under a false name, Laurence Vanderwoods. Police arrested Goodman at his house without incident. Johnson says when her son was living in Virginia Beach, they had a strained relationship. When he told her he was moving back to Martinsville, she was overjoyed. And when he said he wanted to use a pen name to write a book, she didn't think twice. She says he is the face of the business. A great people person who takes care of the social media part. She says he is well respected by his employees and even after the arrest, everyone is staying loyal and supportive towards their boss. Johnson says Goodman was a silent partner in the business, so his name is not on any of the paperwork.

Johnson wants to let the community know, they are not closing.
And anything they have to postpone, will be rescheduled.
The commonwealth attorney's office says Goodman should make his inital appearance in Virginia Beach court Wednesday.


Police say the co-owner of a Martinsville deli and coffee shop has been wanted since 2011 on a felony embezzlement charge.

Martinsville police arrested Larry Neil Goodman, 46, at his house without incident on Tuesday, August 16. He was going by the name Laurence Vanderwoods.

Goodman is the co-owner of Serendipity Metro Deli and Coffee House.

Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn says an anonymous tip led them to check out Goodman, and they confirmed the information by using a DMV photo from another state.

Goodman was transferred on Monday from the Martinsville City Jail to one in Virginia Beach.

Martinsville police are not conducting a further investigation into Serendipity Metro Deli and Coffee House at this time.

WDBJ7 is working to confirm details on the embezzlement charge.

Goodman is due in court on Wednesday.

Check back for updates.