PITT COUNTY - Investigators said they are searching for two armed robbers who forced their way into a home of migrant workers in Pitt County.
According to Sheriff Neil Elks, the home invasion happened at about 10:45 p.m. Monday on Beaver Lodge Drive.
Elks said the suspects knocked on the door of the home, then forced their way inside when a woman answered. One of the suspects, armed with a gun and a knife, forced a victim to the floor at gunpoint, Sheriff Elks said. Another suspect stood outside, possibly acting as a lookout, Sheriff Elks added. The intruders allegedly stole some change and a cell phone.
According to investigators, the people living at the home are migrant workers.
"We want to make sure the Hispanic population knows that if you are robbed or a victim of a crime, you need to call 911," said Elks.
The sheriff explained that migrant workers may keep a lot of cash on hand, which can make them targets.
"The bad guys know whether a lot of police come out to the crime, and if they don't see the police coming out, they don't feel the pressure of being investigated. Second, it will make the Hispanic population an easy target," Sheriff Elks said.
According to Sheriff Elks, another reason why migrant workers tend to be easier targets is because of a language barrier.
"We always hear reports of crimes that are occurring to the Hispanic population that are not being reported to law enforcement," Elks said.
Juvencio Rocha Peralta is the executive director of Amexican, an advocacy group for immigrants and Hispanics. He said incidents like these happen during almost every farming season.
"A lot of people come out to our office sometimes and you know, complaining of things that happen. We are trying to educate the community about that, especially farm workers," said Peralta.
Peralta said another reason migrant workers are targets is because they might move around a lot.
"When we talk about law enforcement, it is very difficult for them to trust law enforcement. It's not because of where they come from, but where they are now," Peralta said.
Peralta said he is hoping to raise awareness in the community to bridge the gap of communication.
Deputies said no one was injured and that the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Pitt County Sheriff's Office at 252-902-2800
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