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Elderly Robbery Victim Tells Her Story of Living With Fear

An elderly Cumberland County woman says three teens who robbed and threatened to kill her also stole her freedom.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — An elderly Cumberland County woman says she is living in fear after three teens robbed and threatened to kill her.

Sheriff's deputies arrested one of the teens last week, but they are still looking for two others.

Katherleen Smith, 81, didn't want to show her face during a television interview Tuesday with WRAL.

Dustin Shane Mantz, 17, and two others are accused of forcing their way into Smith's home on Jan. 18.

Smith, who lived alone at her Gainey Road home, was unharmed, but she was very scared.

She said she knew Mantz and that he was her grandson's friend.

"He always said, 'please' and 'thank you,'” she said. Smith even took Mantz to her church once and fed him dinner, she said.

Then on Jan. 18, Smith said, Mantz showed up on her front steps with two other teens and said he had a gun.

"'And if you don't open the door, we're gonna shoot you,'" Smith recalled his words to her. "'And we're gonna bust your door open, and if we have to, we're gonna shoot you.'”

"About that time, they grabbed the screen door and tore it open,” she said.

Mantz demanded the keys to her 1996 Nissan pickup truck, Smith said. The three teens also went to her bedroom, ransacked it and stole jewelry, along with $60, she said.

Smith was "somebody who was good to Dustin, good to everybody. To think they would do that. It just tore my heart out,” she said.

Since then, she said she has felt afraid in her home.

"It takes my freedom away from me,” she said.

Mantz, of 162 Sally Hill Circle, was arrested Friday in a wooded area off Knapdale and McIver roads in Parkton. He was being held Tuesday in the Cumberland County Jail.

Investigators said that in addition to stealing Smith's pickup, he is accused of taking two county-owned vans from a group home.

Monday, authorities charged him with first-degree burglary, larceny of a motor vehicle, robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a deadly weapon.

Smith's daughter has been staying with her at night since the robbery. Smith has lived in the Grays Creek area for nearly 39 years.

She said she hopes someday to be able to forgive the teens.

"I've been talking to God about that. I think I would forgive them, but I will never forget what they did to me,” she said.

Smith's truck is still missing. Investigators have not released descriptions of the other two suspects because they are juveniles.


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