A sexual assault reported at a North Carolina Walmart led detectives to three Romanian men accused of pretending to be deaf to con people out of donations, according to the Shallotte Police Department.
One of the three is a suspect in the sexual assault of a minor at the store, Shallotte police said in a news release.
It happened around 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, at the Walmart on Main Street in Shallotte, police said. Shallotte is about 165 miles southeast of Raleigh.
“A Shallotte police sergeant was flagged down by a Walmart employee. The employee said a female wanted to report a sexual assault that had just occurred in the parking lot,” police said.
“The officer spotted the suspect and the two others driving through the parking lot. ... Officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and identified the occupants inside.”
Security footage confirmed “a sexual assault did occur,” police said. Investigators report the victim was a teenage girl, who was grabbed by one of the men, forcefully held in his arms, fondled and then kissed on the neck, reported station WECT.
Investigators later discovered the three men are in the country illegally and have been “defrauding prospective donors by representing themselves as hearing impaired and affiliated with the Handicap International Charity,” police said.
“Officers located fraudulent donation collection forms with signatures from citizens and the donation amounts that were given to the men were located in the vehicle,” police said. “Additionally, officers located large sums of US currency stored in secret compartments inside the vehicle. The money was seized.”
The men were identified as Remus Duduveica, 36; Ulise Dumitru, 22; and Ion Levers Istronom, 26, police said. They are charged with obtaining property by false pretense, and Duduveica faces an additional charge of misdemeanor sexual battery of a minor, police said.
U.S. immigration officials issued a detainer for the three “stating they were currently under removal proceedings due to them not being in the United States legally,” police said.