Courant.com, Jesse Leavenworth, August 30,2021
Police in West Hartford, Glastonbury and other Connecticut towns are investigating whether several carjackings in the past three weeks are connected.
The most recent incident happened Saturday afternoon in Rocky Hill when a group of thieves yanked a woman out of a Porsche outside Mozzicato Bakery, police said. The woman was sitting in her high-end German car at the Cromwell Avenue bakery about 4 p.m. when four or five robbers got out of a black SUV, approached the car and demanded the woman’s cellphone. One suspect implied he had a firearm, though no firearm was displayed. They then stole the car.
The Porsche was spotted Monday afternoon being driven recklessly on I-91 North, West Hartford police Capt. Eric Rocheleau said. Rocheleau said he doesn’t know what motivated the recent carjackings, but joy-riding is likely.The same vehicle used by the thieves in the Rocky Hill robbery, a Volkswagen Atlas, was used in a carjacking outside the U.S. Post Office at Bishops Corner in West Hartford Friday afternoon, Rocheleau said. The woman had put her 2022 Genesis Gv70 (Hyundai’s luxury brand) into reverse after mailing a letter when two males, one armed with a handgun, approached the driver’s side window, ordered her to get out and then drove off in her car, Rocheleau said.
This incident is being investigated along with several other similar crimes believed to be committed by the same suspects in the Greater Hartford area, he said. The victim’s vehicle was recovered in Windsor the same day it was stolen, Rochelau said. The stolen VW Atlas also was recovered.
On Aug. 23 in Wethersfield, a man told police that two males followed him as he pulled into his driveway at 11:12 p.m. The pair pulled him from his 2005 silver Acura TL, assaulted him and took off in that vehicle and a dark Nissan sedan, police said. The victim was treated for minor injuries at an area hospital.
On Aug. 10 in Glastonbury, a man driving a new Lexus had gotten back into the vehicle after depositing clothing in a bin at a local gas station. Two thieves wearing ski masks pulled him out of the car, police said. No weapons were shown, and the vehicle was found a few hours later in Hartford, police said. The incident may be related to other recent carjackings, Glastonbury police spokesman Lt. Corey Davis said Monday. Regarding the recent thefts, Davis said the thieves appear to be targeting high-end cars.
The cars most often stolen in Connecticut have been Japanese-made sedans. In 2019, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported the Honda Accord was the state’s most often stolen vehicle, followed by the Honda Civic and Nissan Altima. Nationally, full-size Ford pickup trucks were the most stolen vehicle that year. The Ford trucks were eighth on Connecticut’s most stolen list, according to the NCIB.
No statistics were available on carjackings, but police around the nation say the crime has surged during the coronavirus pandemic.
Minneapolis has seen the greatest spike — a 537% increase in carjackings since 2019, according to published reports, In Chicago in the first three weeks of this year, police reported 144 carjackings, and carjackings in the city more than doubled between 2019 and 2020. In Washington, D.C., the number of carjackings hit 345 in 2020, compared with 142 the year before, the Washington Post reported.
The suspected thieves often have been juveniles, some as young as 12, according to news reports. Chicago police said juveniles were involved in nearly half of the incidents last year, with the largest group a mix of juveniles and young adults between 15 and 20 years old, NPR reported.
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a Washington-based think tank focused on law enforcement, found that much of the increase in carjackings was connected to closed schools due to the pandemic and teens with too much time on their hands. The organization also found that a small number of suspects were responsible for many of the carjackings. Article