Bessemer City Police are looking for the people responsible for four armed home invasions in the area. Police are now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Police said they know people are frightened. They have not arrested anyone related to these home invasions, but they have been interviewing a list of possible suspects. Gary Helton, the man who was beaten outside his home said when police catch the guy, he'll be ready.
"I could identify him like he's my brother. I said just give me a call," said Helton.
Gary Helton's face is still swollen a week after he was robbed and beaten outside of his home as he was about to go to work.
"As I locked the door put the deadbolt on I turned around and he was there with a gun. He said, 'Give me your money or your life.' And I said, 'Here take the money and go," said Helton.
But Helton said there was less than 20 bucks in his wallet.
"He said, 'This ain't enough. We're going back inside.' I said, 'We're not going back inside.' And he had the thing in his hand, he said, 'I'm going to kill you now.'"
He didn't shoot Helton, but used the gun to beat him.
"The plastic surgeon said on that side of the face he broke every bone," said Helton pointing to his face that now how two pieces of steel.
Helton explained why he didn't want to go inside.
"I didn't want him to hurt my wife," said Helton, "And if he had gotten inside he would have probably killed both of us is what the police said. This guy's crazy."
Police are investigating.
"We're running down every single lead and we're not missing one," said Bessemer City Police Chief Tom Ellis.
They said Helton's almost home invasion came on the heels of two other armed home invasions where no one was hurt.
"And that Sunday night, it was a home invasion and the victim was beaten with a pistol also," said Ellis, "So, of course we linked those two together and we don't know if they're the same."
The Bessemer City Police department is offering a $1,000 reward that leads to a suspect.
"Part of the challenge when you request information, you get it," said Ellis, "Sometimes you get good information, sometimes you get bad."
People are concerned and false rumors of other beatings are spreading. The Mayor even posted a message on facebook telling people the status of the investigation.
"It's fair to say everybody is on a heighten alert," said Ellis, "There's no need for people to be fearful of course you're going to be cautious and careful like you always should. But there's not need for anybody to be fearful about what's going on."
"Everybody in town is carrying a gun. They said they'll shoot first and ask questions later," said Helton.
If you have information you're asked to contact Bessemer City Police Department at 704-629-2235 at any time, or Gaston County Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.
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