DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Some students who live at Belmont Apartments on McQueen Drive in Durham are questioning why Durham police did not notify the community after a group told CBS 17 they were held at gunpoint for 90 minutes in an armed robbery at the complex.
The apartment complex is less than a mile from Duke University. Many of the residents who stay there are students.
CBS 17 spoke with a victim of that robbery on Monday who said she and her two friends had just gotten back to the apartments on Saturday night when two guys came up to them outside. She said at least one had a gun.
“They were like, ‘give us your phones, get down on your knees, don’t look up, look down, and don’t say a word,” she told CBS 17 on Monday night.
She said the guys forced them inside the apartment. Two other people inside became victims, as well.
“They picked all of us up, put us in different parts of the apartment. I was put under a table. One or two were put in a closet or bathroom,” she said.
She said they were held for 90 minutes. During that time, the suspects were stealing their bank account information, phones, wallets, laptops, and she said they even got away with her car.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in the robbery.
But one student who lives at the complex, who did not want to be identified, questioned why police did not let the community know about this armed robbery near campus.
“I’d like to know that, considering this street is full of students who don’t have the protection of family or anything,” she said.
CBS 17 reached out to police to find out why they did not alert the public about this armed robbery.
In an email response, police did not address that question. But they did say there were no updates on this case at this time.
Authorities have not released any suspect information, but they said Monday they may be looking for as many as four suspects.
On Tuesday, several residents told CBS 17 they are on edge after hearing about what happened.
“It was terrifying, of course,” said Gayedhri Sumitra, a Duke student who lives at Belmont Apartments. “We had heard of a couple of break-ins happening around here but not in Belmont.”
Sumitra said she plans to be a lot more cautious from now on, and she would like to see more of a police presence in the area.
“I know we have police patrolling, but maybe make it more frequent,” Sumitra said. “We’re going to be a lot more cautious when walking around.”
Lee Horton, regional property manager for the Belmont Apartments, told CBS 17 they empathize with the victims of this horrible ordeal and share their residents’ concerns.
Horton said they are working with Durham police to assist with the investigation, and they are taking the necessary steps to keep the residents safe.
Residents told CBS 17 they did not receive a notification about the armed robbery from the apartment complex until Monday — two days after the incident happened.
CBS 17 asked Horton why residents were not notified until Monday, but we are still waiting to hear back.
According to Durham’s Community crime map, there were at least six reports of robberies, larcenies, or motor vehicle thefts at the Belmont Apartment complex from February 2021 to February 2022.
CBS 17 also found that within a half mile of this complex, there had been 29 robberies since February 2021.