WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A Wilmington woman is sharing her story after a terrifying encounter in hopes others will know what to do if faced with a similar situation.
Krysten Seaholm, 24, came home from work around 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 22. She went inside her Cape Cottage Condo not realizing she was being watched. She went inside to get her two dogs, and returned outdoors to walk them.
"I was on the phone with my sister when I came home and when I brought my dogs out I noticed there was a man in his pick up truck just parked in a visitor spot right here. He was sketchy looking and he was digging through his car with both doors open and just pretending to look for something and I kept on with my walk and we just walked on this way just right past him," Seaholm said.
As Seaholm and her dogs returned, she went to the dumpster in the parking lot to throw out the waste bag from their walk.
"I turned around and he standing right there walking towards me," she said. "He didn't have anything in his hands but he's pretending like he was going to throw something away and I felt immediately threatened like he was about to grab me in that moment. My dogs instantly also felt threatened and tried to attack him. They were like snarling and trying to bite him so he instantly backed away and was startled," she recalled.
Seaholm told the man her dogs felt threatened, and walked back inside.
She then called her boyfriend to tell him about the encounter, not thinking much of it.
"A few minutes later I sat down and all the sudden I hear knocking on my door and I was like 'I think it's him.' The dogs ran up and instantly started trying to attack through the door, so I was like 'Sean I think it's him.' Then all of a sudden through the window next to my door I see him like trying to look in, then I hear him trying to juggle my door handle over and over," she said.
Seaholm said she slowly retreated into her bedroom while the man continued banging on the door. She locker her bedroom door, and then proceeded to lock herself in her bathroom and called 911.
"Once I realized how serious it was it was full on survival mode. I tried to find any weapon I had in my bathroom, anything. I felt better knowing 911 was on the line."
While waiting for police to arrive, the banging stopped and Seaholm looked out her bedroom window.
"I see him now with a silver car next to his white pick up truck with all four doors open and the trunk open with a woman there. And they now are going back-and-forth between the two cars just digging and looking for something and as they're doing that I see him he keeps looking up at my door, he doesn't see me looking at him but he keeps looking at my door."
Seaholm described the man as someone in his late 20s to early 30s with a sandy blonde buzz cut and very thin.
"He looked like a drug addict," she said. "Super, super skinny about one 130, 140 pounds just probably about 5'8', a hollow chin."
Before police arrived, Seaholm said the man did come back to her door and tried to kick it down.
"I don't know exactly what they were doing and what their intentions were but I did feel like they were not just trying to rob me, that they are trying to get me I just had that gut feeling," she said.
The man and woman left in the silver car before police arrived, leaving the white pickup truck behind.
Wilmington Police Department Deputy Chief Mitch Cunningham said the case is under investigation and they are making progress. Cunningham said Seaholm handled the situation properly.
"You do what she did. You move quickly, you stay aware of your surroundings, if something doesn't feel right it isn't right," he said. "We have these instincts and should always listen to them because they are usually based on some kind of observable facts so you want to do that. She went and sought help and did the best she could in that situation."
Cunningham suggests being vigilant of surroundings especially in unfamiliar areas.
"Looking people in the eye, crossing the street if you think it's necessary. Parking in well lit areas. All of those are very basic many people probably heard them hundreds of times but they're they're truisms because they work," he said.
Cunningham confirmed WPD is investigating a similar situation which happened a week earlier.
"We had one a week earlier and we're looking to see if there are any linkages, way too early to tell at this point. But I think just a heightened awareness now if anybody has any information please call us. If they have experience something and based on this event they're looking at it a new way call us also," he said.
Seaholm said she is traumatized by the incident and will no longer leave her house without pepper spray in her hands. She is thankful for her dogs which she called her angels.
"In that moment I didn't know how to react so I was just in utter shock so I wanted to put my story out there so if you're ever in that moment will know what to do or at least know to hide in immediately call 911 because it took me a minute to call 911."