Louisburg, N.C. — The Franklin County Sheriff's Office was searching a wooded area near Moulton Road Monday for a man who allegedly assaulted a woman during a break-in attempt.
Authorities said they believe the suspect is armed.
"We know now that at least two houses have attempted to have been broken into today in this area," said Sheriff Jerry Jones. "We still think we have a guy in the area, so yes, I think everybody should be on alert."
Earlier Monday, deputies received a call about three men trying to break into a home north of Louisburg, Jones said. Hours later, a woman at a nearby home saw a beige car with three men inside drive on to her property.
When she approached them near a shed, two of the man sped off in the car but a third stayed behind.
He assaulted the woman, who fired a handgun at him, Jones said. The man escaped by running into the woods. He had not been caught as of Monday night.
James Macklin, head of the Moulton Community Watch, said neighbors are concerned for their safety.
"Until this person is caught, I'm very sure that all of the persons that live in this area are going to be concerned," he said. "They are very worried. Some of them do not even want to stay in their home alone."
Macklin said the community has been on alert ever since a rash of break-ins in the area in 2011.
Jones agreed that the crimes are "alarming" but said the sheriff's office would work hard to solve them.
"We'll continue to make this a safe place to stay," he said.