by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
MONROE, N.C. - Monroe police have arrested five teenagers they said are suspected in attacks on Hispanic males over the past month.
Officers arrested Rozalyn Allen, Rashan Ashcraft, Darroll Hough and two unidentified juveniles earlier this week on charges of common law robbery.
Police said on Aug. 21, the five teenagers attacked two Hispanic teens who were riding bikes on Andrew Street.
Police said the suspects jumped the victims from behind and stole their wallets, a cellphone and a Sony PlayStation controller.
"We are also looking into connections with the previous number of crimes that we've had over the past couple of weeks. This has been an unfortunate series of events," said city spokesman Pete Hovanec.
Over the past month, detectives have tracked at least a half dozen incidents where Hispanic males have been targeted by a group of African-American youth.
Assailants target Hispanics in Monroe, authorities say
One victim told Channel earlier this month the robbery made him fearful to leave his home, and police said that feeling was pervasive in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.
"It just makes you fearful to go outside. Everybody that lives in that neighborhood was a little on edge because you don't know if you could be targeted," Hovanec said.
On Wednesday, Channel 9 went to Ashcraft's home and spoke with his mother and grandmother.
Ashcraft's mother denied the allegations, telling Eyewitness News her son was a victim, not a suspect and was defending himself against gang activity.
Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:
Police: 5 teens arrested in attacks on Hispanic males
Students fall ill at McClintock Middle School for second straight day
Garinger High School students stage walk out over immigration policies
Plane makes emergency landing after bird strike at Charlotte Douglas
Dakota Access oil pipeline camp cleared of protesters