Lincolnton County Sheriff’s deputies said a man broke into an elderly couple’s home and interrupted them while they were reading the Bible.
Deputies were called to a home on Goodson Road after a report of a man wearing a ski mask, ski suit, gloves and ski boots breaking into the house and brandishing a gun.
The victims told police the man demanded money and prescription medication from the couple.
The thief took a bottle of pills and told them he would return to kill them if they did not wait 15 minutes before calling police.
The female victim told police that she told the burglar as he was leaving that he should be reading the Bible instead of committing crimes.
"The gunman told the couple not the call the police for 15 minutes or he would come back and kill them,” said Lincoln County Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Tim Johnson said. “They waited and called family members before calling 911. That gave the suspect a 30-minute head start on the officers."
Police said the man fled the home into a wooded area behind the house.
Deputies said while the robbery is the latest in a string of crimes on Goodson Road, it is notably different from the others.
Neighbors and deputies said there have been nine other crimes in the same neighborhood this year. Many of them are unsolved, and in most, thieves broke into cars and garages.
“Since September, it’s been a rash. I’ve been broken into and some of the other houses,” said resident Jim Watts.
Watts said a thief stole more than $5,000 in power tools from him. Since the crime, he has enhanced security around his home.
“I’ve got a warning system,” he said.
But until the latest crime is solved, deputies are increasing patrols and warning neighbors to activate their alarms, keep their doors locked and eyes open.
Deputies do not believe the latest crime and the other are connected. They said a dog was able to trace the scent of the latest suspect to a driveway less than a mile from the victims’ home, but could not find the suspect.