A Gastonia woman is spending her birthday nursing a gunshot wound after a robbery outside her home.
The victim, who turned 20 Thursday, said two masked men confronted her as she returned to her apartment off Hudson Boulevard late Wednesday.
She said one man grabbed her purse and shot her in the arm when she struggled to keep it. The men then fled with her purse.
"I just heard the gunshot and screams," said neighbor Ronald Morrison.
Morrison was standing on his balcony, yards away.
"I have never seen or experienced anything like that before," he said.
The bag of fast food she had with her was still on the sidewalk outside the apartment complex Thursday with what appears to be a bullet hole in it.
Marilyn Lindsay and a few other neighbors passed by the spot moments before the shooting.
"It makes us all a little shaky," she said. "I had pulled back up; another lady was out here seconds before this happened with her four kids."
Police said this is the fourth robbery of a similar nature in the past two weeks. They said robberies are up 40 percent.
"At this point and time, we can't say that they are tied to any others," said Capt. Steve Duncan, with the Gastonia Police Department. "Like I say, we are looking at them to see if they are connected."
Police said the robbers are looking for easy targets.
"If you see somebody standing there, and they look out of place, stay in your car and call police," Duncan said.