EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Police are searching for suspects they say attempted to steal a purse from a woman Monday night at a ShopRite, according to East Haven police.
Police responded to a call from a woman who said she had been involved in an attempted purse snatching at 7:36 p.m. at the ShopRite, located at 745 Foxon Rd.
Once police arrived on the scene, they learned that a red or maroon Kia Sportage with Connecticut tags had been circling the parking lot and was seen pulling up tightly alongside the woman as she was walking her cart.
The woman told police she saw a Black man stick his arm out of the rear passenger side window and try to grab her purse in the shopping cart. The man was described as wearing a light blue hoodie.
The driver of the Kia, who was identified as a woman, then attempted to drive off with the purse, however, because the purse was strapped into the child seat belt in the carriage, the suspects were unable to remove the purse. They ended up briefly dragging the cart through the parking lot.
Police said the Kia ultimately fled westbound on Route 80.
The woman, who has identified herself as Susan Cellini, said she has a wrist injury, and some soreness but otherwise is okay. Still, she wants more security in the parking lot.
“I want people to be safe here,” she said. “Do I feel safe? No, I’m 69 years old. I don’t feel safe here. I want a security car here. When I’m at a grocery store, I always turn around and look to make sure and I was aware last night. But I wasn’t protected here.”
The owners of the ShopRite have not responded to News 8’s request for comment.
East Haven police said officers regularly patrol shopping plazas in town. The department has increased patrols after this incident.
Police said the situation could have been worse if Cellini did not secure her purse. She said she started doing so after she was robbed while shopping with her two young kids about 40 years ago. Since then, she straps her purse with the child safety belt on the shopping cart and carries pepper spray.
Cellini said shoppers should still take precautions.
“Please, please be aware and even if you have your pocketbook on you, they still could’ve grabbed it on my neck and taken it,” she said.
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspects is asked to call the East Haven Police Department at (203) 468-3820.