Police seek information after four robberies reported near Belmont Apartments in Durham in span of two weeks

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"They woke me up. I screamed and they said 'shut up or we'll kill you,'" Duke University grad student Mary Rose Branch said.

Four robberies reported in the area of the Belmont Apartments on McQueen Drive in the span of two weeks have Durham police wondering whether the incidents are related.

In one case, a 26-year-old woman woke up to find two men in her bedroom. In another, a 24-year-old man was forced to drive an armed man to an ATM and withdraw money.

ABC11 spoke to the 26-year-old victim on Tuesday. She explained what it was like to wake up with a gun in her face.

"They woke me up. I screamed and they said 'shut up or we'll kill you,'" Duke University grad student Mary Rose Branch said.

She said they spent 40 minutes ransacking her place, even taking phone calls in the process, before taking off with her computers, phone, cash and her car.

"They did contemplate basically kidnapping and taking me to the ATM," she said. "I was very glad that they decided that they didn't think I had enough money to do that."


Police are asking for the public's help in finding out who's responsible.

Investigators need more information about these other incidents:
  • A 21-year-old man was followed up the stairs and forced into his apartment on McQueen Drive at gunpoint. A man wearing all black clothing and a gray scarf pointed a gun at the victim and took the victim's wallet and electronic items.
  • A 24-year-old male victim was getting something out of his car on McQueen Drive when a man with a gun came up behind him and forced him back into the vehicle. The suspect forced the victim to drive to an ATM and withdraw money. The suspect took the victim's phone, wallet and cash before getting out of the car.
  • A 27-year-old man was walking to his apartment on Eastman Drive when two males wearing hoodies robbed him of his keys, phone and vehicle. The stolen vehicle was recovered in Hillsborough.

"Officers have been reaching out to residents. They are encouraging them to call in any suspicious activity and to use the Nextdoor app to share information," said District 3 Capt. Marianne Bond.

Officers are conducting increased patrols in the area and the DPD's District 3 Community Resource Officer is working with the apartment management. Belmont Apartments said they are adding steel plates to doors and putting up security cameras. They will also add extra security guards and check IDs for people on the premises.

Branch said she is moving out.

Belmont Apartments is letting her break her lease.

"It could have been so much worse," Branch said. "They were relatively respectful I guess but very scary."

Anyone with information about any of these robberies is asked to call Cpl. Frey at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29480 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.
Related Topics:
armed robberyrobberyapartmentbreak-inhome invasionDurhamDurham County
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