PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are searching for a group of robbers they believe are responsible for targeting women walking out of Publix supermarkets in Plantation and, in one case, even following a 74-year-old shopper back to her gated community, earlier this week.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the first in the string of robberies took place outside the Publix at 1181 S. University Drive, Sunday, at around 6:20 p.m. Investigators said a woman was loading groceries into the trunk of her car when a black Nissan pulled up behind her. A man then got out of the vehicle and pepper-sprayed her before snatching her purse.
Officials said, after the victim had her car towed back to her house, it was stolen from her driveway. That car has since been recovered.
About an hour after the first theft, a woman leaving the Publix at 8101 W. Sunrise Blvd. was approached by a man and a woman who had gotten out of a dark colored vehicle. Investigators said they pepper-sprayed her, stole her purse and fled in the dark colored vehicle.
Tuesday afternoon, a black Nissan approached two women leaving the Outback restaurant, located at 1823 North Pine Island Road, and struck one of them in the thigh. A man then exited the vehicle and hit that victim in the head with closed fists. Two women then got out of the Nissan and attacked the other victim.
Detectives said a cellphone was taken during this robbery. The victims sustained minor injuries.
Wednesday night, a black Nissan rear-ended the vehicle of a 74-year-old woman who was driving home from the Publix at Northwest 69th Avenue and West Broward Boulevard, as the victim entered El Dorado Estates, where she resides.
Surveillance video captured the Nissan following closely behind the victim’s car prior to the impact.
The victim’s husband, Al Reidel, described to 7News what the man and woman who, police said, got out of the Nissan, did to his wife after she got out of her car to survey the damage. “He punched her in the face the first time and then punched her again, so her nose is all blown up, you know,” he said. “She fell down, and the guy got in [her] car and sped off.”
Investigators said the female subject got back into the Nissan, and both robbers then fled the scene with the victim’s purse. The victim’s car was later recovered.
BSO officials said they are also investigating a fifth purse-snatching outside of a Publix at 3102 Griffin Road, in Dania Beach, Tuesday. Investigators said the victim was walking back to her car when a heavy-set woman pepper-sprayed her face and tried to grab her purse. They struggled for some time before the female assailant punched the victim in the face. A male subject then grabbed the purse, and the robbers fled in a car.
A spokesperson for Publix released a statement that reads in part, “We are fully cooperating with the Plantation Police Department and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in their ongoing investigation.”
Police are looking for a black Nissan Altima with dark tinted windows.
If you have any information on any of these robberies, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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