DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Through translations from a friend, Gilberto Rincon described on Friday the moments when two men with a gun approached him outside Duke University-owned apartments on Swift Street in Durham.
The apartments are where he is staying while in town from Venezuela for the American Dance Festival.
He was walking home alone after a performance that ended around 12:45 a.m. when the robbery happened.
His friend, Jeffrie Gonzalez, translated for WNCN.
“He kept walking but then he saw him, and then he started running because it looked like they were going to attack him and then as soon as he started running, one of them pulled out a really big gun and they said, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’” Gonzalez said. “He was so frightened he just wanted to stop because he was afraid they were going to shoot.”
The men stole more than $120, his cellphone and his identification.
It happened just a few feet from the ramps to the Durham Freeway.
“There was a car that was stationed inside the bushes,” Gonzalez said. “They got in there and went up and around and he went the opposite way into a friend’s apartment nearby.”
The incident happened just a few hours after Chapel Hill Police received reports of two armed robberies in that town. And on Wednesday night, there were reports of two armed robberies on UNC’s campus.
Investigators are not sure if the cases are related.
“I don’t think we can say with absolute certainty that they are or are not,” said Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police.
“You could draw a straight line almost between those five crimes, so it lends some credibility to the fact that they’re possibly related.”
The crimes are similar in the way the crimes were carried out, the number of people involved and the description of the suspects and the car. Mecimore said police are looking for a tan or gold four-door sedan.
“There are far more similarities than there are differences,” he said.
With just three days left in his six-week trip to Durham, Rincon, 40, is remaining positive about the experience.
“He says he feels secure and his experience has been so enlightening that he’s not going to categorize it to what happened last night and he still had a great time,” Gonzalez said. “He still feels safe. He’s just going to take more precaution next time.”