Community Impact: Mt. Airy book store owner attacked

“Community Impact” stories take a deeper look at an individual crime incident, to explore how crime can affect quality of life in our communities. If you would like to share your story, e-mail us at


Greg Williams rarely takes the afternoon off. Even when he does, the owner of Walk a Crooked Mile Books can’t completely detach himself.

Last Tuesday, Williams decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and sit on his porch with his laptop and price check a few books. But as the sky above his West Mount Airy home began to darken, someone decided to take advantage of Williams.

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“All of a sudden I hear a squeak on the steps and someone comes up and starts beating me on the head,” said Williams.

After the guy struck him three or four times, Williams said he snatched his Compaq computer and dashed down the street.

While his mother-in-law called the police, Williams went on a chase. His efforts were fruitless, but five police cars quickly swarmed the scene. And about a half hour later, he said, they returned, with suspect and laptop in hand.

Williams said he wasn’t badly injured in the incident, but was certainly angered by it. His shop had been burglarized before and he half-expected someone would hit his home at some point too.

“But this was kind of a freak thing and I think it made a lot of people in the neighborhood uncomfortable,” he said.

Williams, who’s lived in the city for 20 years, said he wasn’t completely surprised by the assault. Things like this can happen, he said, even in Mt. Airy.

Still, Williams hasn’t been so quick to hop back on the porch.

“I actually had a chance to go home and work today,” he said. “It was too cold, but I also wondered, ‘Am I ready to go back out there again?'”

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