• Neighborhood on alert after kidnapping, sexual assault

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police are investigating a violent crime in west Charlotte after a young woman walking down the street was abducted and then raped in a vacant home.

    They said she’s recovering, but her rapist is still on the loose.

    The front door was still open Friday at the crime scene on Ridge Avenue.

    Police said that’s where the 18-year-old woman was raped Thursday night.

    She told them a stranger held her down by her neck and threatened to kill her.

    “That's very disturbing to hear that something like that happened right next door,” neighbor Sylvia Robinson said.

    Robinson was shocked to hear the young woman was snatched from the busy street nearby when she was walking down West Boulevard near Tyvola Road just after 11 p.m.

    Her attacker threw her in a car and drove less than half a mile away to rape her, according to a police report.

    “It makes you think and wonder,” Robinson said. “Because I'm a woman. I could have been walking down the street. That's very disturbing. I hope they catch the guy.”

    The president of the neighborhood association in the area is calling for action.

    “We’re going to alert our residents to be on the watch for all of these abandoned houses so that this crime of opportunity doesn't occur in this community again,” Rickey Hall said.

    He’s also disgusted by the violent crime.

    “We hate that it happened and it was brought to our neighborhood, but it's not a reflection of us (or) the people who live here,” Hall said.

    Bishop Aaron Raley pastors a church across the street from where the woman said she was raped.
    He said old abandoned homes are a magnet for crimes. 
    His church has been trying to buy them so they can turn the neighborhood around.
     “We purchased this house,” Raley, Mission Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, pointing at a house. “We bought this home and we're trying to make the community better.”
    Now he's praying the rapist is found quickly.
    Police said a crime like this is very rare in this area. 
    Two reported sex crimes occurred in 2013 in that area, according to crime statistics.

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