WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Four suspects filled garbage bags full of merchandise from a store in the West Farms Mall and fled without paying.
West Hartford police said it happened at the Macy’s store around 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday.
Macy’s Loss Prevention reported that four people entered the store with large black bags and started to fill them with items.
When a loss prevention officer tried to intervene, there was a struggle with one of the suspects. One of the suspects then reportedly reached for his waistband and implied he had a gun.
The loss prevention officer backed off at that point.
The suspects took off with the filled bags.
Minutes later, police said that the Ulta store at 1555 New Britain Ave. in West Hartford reported a similar theft.
Employees in the Ulta said three people came in with garbage bags and stole a large amount of fragrances.
The suspects fled in a vehicle.
The employees also told police that they were alerted by another Ulta store in Waterbury, which also reported a similar theft that happened there around 3:30 p.m.
“I think that’s pretty wacky. I don’t know. It’s kind of insane,” said Renata Pastuszak of New Britain.
Shoppers who frequent WestFarms and local plazas say Tuesday’s robbery and shoplifting incident were wild.
“Me, myself I’ve never seen anyone actually shoplift,” Pastuszak said.
Police say they believe the suspects are in the same crew.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. Never. Just horrible,” said Jerry McCall of West Hartford.
Shoppers are shocked.
“I hope the police catches them and they should be held accountable for it,” said Val McCall.
Retired Police Lieutenant Lisa Dadio says bystanders should not intervene with the crime.
But there are still some things you can do.
“The best thing you can do is videotape. Get out that cell phone and record it,” Dadio said, now the Director of the Center for Advanced Policing at the University of New Haven.
Professor Dadio says there are three things you can do if you witness brazen shoplifting: call 911 right away, record the crime if you can, and let authorities know you have the footage.
“The goal is to stop this from occurring, so people realize yeah we’re making arrests all the time for these types of crimes,” Dadio said.
West Hartford police say they have surveillance video of the incident and are hoping to release it later Wednesday night.
The suspects’ vehicle was described as a dark gray Toyota Highlander.
It has not been found.
No one was hurt in any of the robberies.
Anyone with information is asked to contact West Hartford police at 860-523-5203.