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Police in North Carolina are warning men to be aware of their surroundings when they go out drinking late at night.

Wilmington police say 11 men, including military servicemen, have been attacked or sexually assaulted after leaving area bars at night, the Newsobserver.com reports.

The men, including seven members of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps., were attacked in downtown Wilmington around the time bars closed for the night.

"Police have now identified four victims who may have been sexually assaulted," officials said Wednesday on Facebook.

The attacks and sexual assaults date back to January 2018, police say.

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Officials discovered a link between the assaults when the attacks began escalating a few weeks ago. The men were attacked then robbed before being sexually assaulted.

Police have stepped up patrols in areas around bars and nightclubs in downtown Wilmington.

Officials caution men who drink in public establishments to please exercise caution, travel in groups, and don't leave drinks unmonitored. Don't drink and drive and never leave a bar with a stranger.