Last week, Lenoir City Police Department (LCPD) officers liberated an adult woman who was being held against her will inside an apartment complex in North Carolina.
Local resident Breotta Pringle is being charged with one count of human trafficking and one count of simple assault. According to the arrest warrant, Pringle allegedly held the female victim “in involuntary servitude or sexual servitude.” Police are still working to determine whether there could be more victims tied to this case.
The LCPD reported receiving calls from neighbors after a multitude of strangers began coming and going from Pringle’s apartment. Initially, police suspected a narcotics ring, but further investigation revealed that the site was being used for human trafficking.
An anonymous neighbor reported seeing countless cars stop by several times a day and going inside the apartment via the back door. “I saw people parking in our parking spaces and walking behind her building,” she told WSOC. “It surprises me, but it really doesn’t surprise me.”
LCPD Chief of Police Brent Phelps said in a public statement, “These situations are extremely disturbing when individuals blatantly violate someone’s rights as a human being for their own personal gain. This department will not stand for this type of activity in our community, and we will exhaust all resources to prosecute individuals who willingly victimize others in this manner.”
When police arrived on the scene to arrest Pringle, the female victim was still being held captive inside the apartment. Capt. Andy Wilson of the LCPD told WSOC, “This victim was being held against her will.”
State and local agencies are currently helping the unnamed victim recover from her traumatic experience.
“Removing her from that atmosphere, it was like a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders,” Wilson said. “It was a sigh of relief for her to be out of that environment.”
The LCPD asks that anyone with information pertaining to this or any other crime come forward. Contact Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300, or the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100.