Henderson, N.C. — Two women were carjacked and raped at gunpoint in the Henderson area on Valentine's Day, police said Tuesday, which has area residents on alert.
The incidents were latest in a series of carjackings in the area in recent weeks.
Since Jan. 24, four vehicles have been stolen at gunpoint, police said. The previous carjackings occurred outside a Walmart on Cooper Drive and near The Wash House laundromat on Andrews Avenue.
No arrests have been made, and investigators are trying to determine whether the cases are connected.
Police and the Vance County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating one of the rape cases, declined to disclose where the Valentine's Day carjackings occurred. One of the assaults took place in front of two boys, ages 8 and 11, authorities said.
Both women who were attacked are recovering.
Henderson police have confirmed that the rape case they're investigating started in a parking lot, like the two earlier carjackings.
"People always need to be cognizant of their environment. They need to be aware of their surroundings and who's around," said Lt. D.A. Hedgepeth of the Henderson Police Department.
Women in Henderson said they are thinking twice before getting behind the wheel by themselves.
"This does not seem like a safe place to be," Molly Hakes said.
Hakes said she and other women are trying to stay alert and informed about local crime.
"We're all trying to keep each other informed, and we're all trying to say keep a buddy system in place (to) be careful (and) be protected," she said.