MARLBOROUGH, Conn. (WTNH) — A woman was abducted outside of a grocery store on Marlborough Saturday night, leaving her injured. Connecticut State Police are now looking for the suspects and now say the incident may be related to a hate crime.
State Police said at about 7 p.m. Saturday, the victim, a 64-year-old woman, had exited the Big Y in Marlborough and was loading groceries into her car in the parking lot when she was approached by two men wearing masks, demanding money.
Police said, “The suspects proceeded to throw her in the back seat of her vehicle. The two males then displayed a handgun, placed a bag over her head, and assaulted her by hitting her with an object in the face several times.”
On Wednesday, Brian Foley, who is the executive assistant to the Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Rovella, said that the incident could be related to a hate crime.
Foley released a statement Wednesday saying, “There are certain aspects of this investigation that could possibly be related to a hate crime. As with any hate crime investigation, there are certain protocols that include investigating, tracking, reporting, as well as working with the State’s Attorney’s office.”
With the woman in the backseat, the suspects drove the stolen car to DND Food Mart in East Hartford where one of them used the victim’s ATM card to get money out of the machine.
The men then drove the woman to Berlin, where she was thrown out of the car. The woman is being treated at a local hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
After releasing the victim, the suspects drove the victim’s car behind a building where they lit the car on fire. The victim’s car was found on fire behind Wine Merchants off the Berlin Turnpike.
The suspects left the scene in what is believed to be a 1999-2003 Acura TL.
We spoke with an employee of Wine Merchants, Vivian Lehman, who described the aftermath.
“She’s on the phone with me, she said ‘something happened. Go over there.’ So, I went over there, I see the fire trucks. I see the police. And I saw the car after it was finished being destroyed,” Lehman said.
State Police Sgt. Dawn Pagan said of the harrowing incident, “I think it’s a scary situation for anybody who’s experienced that. And certainly, we want her to know that we’re working diligently and we’re actively investigating all investigative measures that we can.”
State Police are reminding citizens to be aware of their surroundings and to immediately report any suspicious activity. They say when you leave a store already have your keys in your hand and put your phone away. Once you get in your car, lock it.
They say though if you find yourself in a situation like this remember your purse and your car are all replaceable property, so give the people what they’re demanding and try to get out of there.
“If they’re looking for your purse, throw it to the side and then look for your escape route,” explained Sgt. Pagan. Then call 911.
Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad is investigating this active and ongoing investigation. Police want the victim to know they are using all their investigative tools to try to track down her attackers. They are also calling on any witnesses who may have seen the abduction in Marlborough Saturday night.
Detectives ask that any witnesses and anyone with information to contact the Troop K tip line at 860-465-5469. All calls will remain confidential.