North Carolina Family of 5 Tortured with Hot Metal During Home Invasion: Police

Five men approached the family in their garage, forced them into their home and "put a knife and fork on top of the stove and heated it up," local authorities said

<p>Harnett County Sheriff/Facebook</p> Harnett County Sheriff vehicle

Harnett County Sheriff/Facebook

Harnett County Sheriff vehicle

A North Carolina family of five was robbed and attacked last weekend in what a local sheriff is calling an act of "pure torture."

Around 2 a.m. local time on Saturday, June 15, a family in western Harnett County was sitting in their garage with the door open when a group of five men reportedly forced them into their home. The men assaulted the family before stealing some of their belongings, according to CBS affiliate WNCN and NBC affiliate WRAL, which both cited the Harnett County Sheriff's Office.

Speaking with WRAL, Sheriff Wayne Coats said the five men tied up the family with duct tape and began to torture them — putting a "knife and fork on top of [their] stove" to heat up the metal and "stick it to the bodies" of the family members. "They were trying to get them to tell them where their money and guns were," Coats said, adding that there were no guns at the home.

The suspects then stole multiple personal items, ransacked the home, assaulted the children and took off with two stolen vehicles, per WRAL, which said that the men drove away in their own silver or gray Dodge Challenger.

The family is still missing a gray four-door Honda Accord, per WNCN.

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for more information on Sunday, June 23.

<p>Getty</p> A stock image of a police car


A stock image of a police car

A GoFundMe for the family, shared by WRAL and reportedly organized by the sister of one of the victims, Mayra Morales-Scott, has since raised more than $13,000 of a $15,000 goal. In the fundraising page's description, Morales-Scott wrote that "words cannot describe the pain and devastation that our family is experiencing right now."

She wrote that "masked intruders" assaulted her sister, brother-in-law and the "young children," adding that their "entire house was ransacked" and the family is now "suffering physically, emotionally and mentally."

"Our extended family and close friends are devastated," she added. "Their home was vandalized and their peace of mind and safety will never feel the same."

The GoFundMe campaign aims to raise money to cover health care costs, replace stolen items and provide additional support for her sister's family, per Morales-Scott. "We are asking for your prayers, words of encouragement, your empathy and to please respect our family's privacy during this difficult time," she wrote.

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Jeffrey Miller, who lives two doors down from the family and has lived in the neighborhood for 16 years, told WRAL that he "thought nothing like that would ever happen."

"I'm so sorry for the family," Miller said, adding that he installed security measures at his own home.

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