RALEIGH, N.C. (Kelly Kennedy/WNCN) - A Raleigh neighborhood is on edge after two teen girls had the same creepy encounter in the Hertford Village area.
Both teens were walking down Knowles Street and were followed by men in a tan van — men who the girls say became aggressive when they refused to get into the van.
Wake Tech freshman Emma Whisnant, 18, loves to take walks around her neighborhood, but lately, she’s felt a little less safe.
“I think they wanted me to be a prostitute,” said Whisnant. “It was mostly just panic, just like ‘this is really creepy.’ I just kept telling myself over and over again, you’ll get away. You’ll get away.”
A couple weeks ago Whisnant was walking to a friend’s house when she was stopped by a tan van.
“They circled back around and started asking me questions,” recalled Whisnant. “I didn’t respond — I pretended I didn’t hear them. They started getting a little more aggressive, they were just like ‘come on give me your number, we can help you make money’ and at that point I felt uncomfortable so I started walking faster.”
But that wasn’t the end of it, she said
“Then they drove up a little bit, waited for me to pass and then started to follow me and at that point I felt really unsafe and I ran to my friend’s house,” Whisnant said.
It turns out Whisnant was not alone, Elyzabeth Infante says her 16-year-old daughter had an eerily similar experience last week.
“I get a call from my husband telling me I need to get out of work and go home because my daughter was approached by a sex trafficker,” said Infante.
Infante says her daughter was walking home from high school when people in a tan van approached her and asked her if she wanted to make some extra money. The men told her to get in the van.
The mom says it wasn’t until another neighbor came near them that the van took off.
“If it wasn’t for that other mom and them noticing that she was coming, I probably would’ve been saying a different story,” said Infante.
The community is now coming together to look out for one another
“For it to happen more than once with the same M.O. it’s kind of shocking,” said Infante. “We have to be very careful with our kids.”
Raleigh police are investigating the incidents. Infante says since this happened, neighbors have volunteered to walk her daughter home from her nearby high school.