They believe it all started with a routine, Sunday night shopping trip at the Big Y on North Main Street in East Longmeadow.
After loading up his car, the 59 year old returned to his Cedar Hill Road home and began unloading groceries. That’s when he was approached by a young Hispanic male.
“He had brief words with him, turned around and walked into the garage and hit the button to close the door,” says Sgt. Patrick Manley of the East Longmeadow Police Dept. “Before he knew what was happening, this male had run into the garage, attacked him, knocked him to the ground, choked him and stole his wallet from his pocket.”
East Longmeadow police believe the attack was premeditated. In fact, they believe the victim became the target long before he pulled into his driveway.
“He kind of thought that the car had followed him because he lives on a side street and he went down a couple of side streets to get home,” says Manley. “He noticed the vehicle behind him, but he didn’t really know that the car had started following him from the shopping center — we suspect that that might be the case.”
Police say grocery store parking lots are one of the easiest places to become a target because they’re often filled with cars. While you’re busy loading up your trunk, someone else could be sitting a few spots away, watching your every move.
“They’ll watch to see people come and go,” says Manley. “If they see someone who looks like a likely victim — a woman by herself maybe, an older person, somebody that it looks like they might be able to take advantage of, victimize them — They’ll follow them and then they’ll strike when the victim least expects it.”
They suspect the young Hispanic male who attacked and robbed the victim had a getaway driver.
East Longmeadow police say there was a similar incident in Springfield, but they have yet to link the two robberies.
While they search for the suspects, Manley says it’s important for residents to stay alert. Anyone can fall victim to this kind of crime, especially if you let down your guard.
If you suspect you’re being followed, the best thing you can do is drive straight to the police station.
Police say the victim sustained some scrapes and bruises, but his injuries didn’t warrant a trip to the hospital.
The suspects made off with the victim’s credit cards, identification cards and a small amount of cash.