CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested a man accused of trying to steal two cars and repeatedly punching the women behind the wheels.
Police said around 2:30 p.m. Saturday the suspect, 42-year-old Eugene Hazen, approached a 61-year-old woman at the CVS on South Boulevard. They said when he tried to steal her car, but when he couldn't, he started hitting her in the face.
Helena Ruffin, 61, shared photographs from her time in the hospital after she was attacked.
“As I started to get up he punched me. He punched me so hard,” she said.
(Listen to the 911 call from the CVS below)
Ruffin described the moment she was approached in the South End store’s parking lot.
“All of a sudden, I just started to open the door. Next thing I knew, I was unconscious and on the ground,” she said.
She said Hazen was confused by the electronic starter on her car and took off running.
Two hours later, police said Hazen tried to do the same thing to a woman at the State Employees Credit Union on 3rd Street in Midtown.
Authorities said Hazen hit the woman, took her keys, but was unable to drive the vehicle because it was a manual transmission.
CMPD officers and K-9 units were eventually able to find Hazen under a tractor-trailer at the Target on Metropolitan Drive.
Police charged Hazen with two counts of common law robbery and two counts of assault on a female.
Hazen spent more than 20 years behind bars for violent crimes like armed robbery.
County records show he was arrested again this February and charged with attempted robbery, kidnapping and assault on a female. He was released two weeks later on an unsecured bond with no electronic monitoring.
The county jail, the courts and the district attorney’s office told Channel 9 they’re not allowed to comment on specifics of active cases.
“I'm hoping now with this face, we'll be able to demonstrate that it wasn't the right decision to let him come out,” Ruffin said.
Hazen is facing charges in three similar cases. Police said he could be tied to another case at the end of February.