Updated: Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013, 9:55 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013, 9:55 PM EST
WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Police are searching for a suspect in Watertown who has been stopping people in their cars at shopping centers and boldly telling them they owe him money for hitting him.
Police say it's also been happening in neighboring Waterbury and they believe it's the same guy.
In packed parking lots during the day, many shoppers feel safer. Christel Hasemann usually does at this Adam's Supermarket in Watertown Plaza but not today.
"I was scared to go. You know, I'm over 70, you know. It's always a risk to go anywhere these days," said Hasemann.
That's because she heard about a man police say targeted at least two victims on Sunday, including an 84-year-old woman.
"As she was backing up, she noticed a man exclaiming to her that he had been struck by her vehicle, claiming that his cellphone had been damaged. The women knew she had not struck anyone. The man came from out of nowhere and he then told her that for 150-200 dollars, he'd forget about the whole thing," said Deputy Chief Robert Desena, Watertown Police.
The woman clearly panicked and folllowed the man's orders. She didn't have cash, so he asked her to drive to an ATM down the street. He got in a car with a friend and followed her.
"What did your husband say," asked News 8's Erin Logan.
"He said, 'you wouldn't give the money.' I said, 'no I would maybe hit him over the head if I could," said Hasemann.
Waterbury Police say for months, they've had incidents here at the Stop & Shop and Target lots on Chase Ave.
"I can't believe this is happening and nobody sees it either," said Hasemann.
Police say the man usually doesn't have the car he did Sunday, a light gray or silver sedan.
"I would never give a guy my money. If anything I would try to fight him off and defend myself and say you're not getting any money from me," said Stacey Pikell of Watertown.
Police say that's not a good idea but keep your eyes wide open and call police if you notice anything.