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Woman in Southington is victim in string of violent Connecticut carjackings

A woman was carjacked while pumping gas in Southington early Wednesday, police said, one of a string of violent carjackings in Connecticut in recent months.

The woman was not injured, and her car was later found abandoned in Waterbury — minus her purse and $2,000, they said.

The robbery happened about 1:15 a.m. at the Exxon station, 682 Queen St. The woman had just finished pumping gas on the passenger side of the car when a young man walked by and slipped into the driver’s seat of the 2014 BMW.

The woman tried to jump into the front passenger seat to confront him, but the thief told her if she didn’t get out, he would shoot her, police said. The thief, who did not show a gun, then took off with her partly in the car, and the woman was forced out.

The speeding BMW passed an officer in the center of town a short time later, but police said they were not able to catch up to it.

An officer found the car about 4:20 a.m. in Waterbury with help from city police, but no one was in it, police said. It also was missing her purse and $2,000 in cash; the woman had just left her job at a nearby strip club.

Police had the car brought back to Southington to be processed for evidence.

In addition to combing through the BMW, detectives also are looking at surveillance video at the gas station and bar for clues as to the thief’s identity, and that of the second person who may have been helping him. Police are investigating the possibility that the two were parked at the gas station, watching for customers who were leaving their cars unattended, even for a few minutes.

The carjacking is one in a recent string of car robberies in Connecticut, many of them involving young thieves.

Just an hour before the Southington robbery, an armed thief approached a man who was parked in his Woodbridge driveway and about to get out of his car after returning home from work. The male robber opened the door, showed the driver his gun and ordered him to the ground. He then stole the man’s belongings along with the car, a 2017 Nissan Rogue, license plate AN16987. As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, the car had not been recovered, police said, and they asked for anyone with information about it or the thief to call them at (203) 387-2511.

One Saturday afternoon in August, a group of thieves pulled a woman out of a Porsche outside Mozzicato Bakery in Rocky Hill and stole the car, police said. Less than a week later, the same vehicle the thieves used to get to the bakery was used at an armed carjacking of a woman outside a West Hartford post office.

Also in August, a man was carjacked in his Wethersfield driveway. And in Glastonbury, two thieves wearing ski masks approached a man who had just gotten back into his Lexus after putting clothing into a donation bin. They pulled him out of his car and stole it.

Perhaps the most shocking carjacking was the beating and kidnapping of a 64-year-old woman who was loading her car with groceries in the small town of Marlborough on a Saturday evening in September. The thieves demanded money, threw her in the back seat, put a bag over her head and struck her in the face with a hard object several times, state police said.

They stole her car, drove around with her still in the back and threw her out in Berlin before lighting the vehicle on fire, police said. The woman was seriously injured but is expected to recover. State police continue to investigate the case and had no new information on it Wednesday.

Southington Lt. Keith Egan said even when filling their gas tanks, people should shut off their cars, take their purses and keys with them and lock their doors. The Southington victim had left her car running and driver’s side door open, giving the thief easy access.

“Unfortunately, it’s the world we live in right now,” Egan said. “It’s pretty sad, really.”

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