Area Police Warn Women About Rash of Purse Thefts

Middlebury police say a thief is targeting cars parked at Blast Gym and the Hop Brook Dam parking lot.

A purse was reportedly stolen from a car parked in a Greenway parking lot around 4 p.m. Tuesday, Middlebury Acting Police Chief Richard Wildman reported.

The car was parked in the Chase Road Greenway parking lot, he said.

The areas where the cars have been broken into are frequented by Naugatuck and nearby residents. 

A String of Car Break-Ins

Car break-ins are something of a recent trend in Middlebury. Wildman said police investigated multiple car break-ins in the past two months. Four purse thefts were reported over the course of one evening at Blast Gym, the former site of Bally Total Fitness.

The alleged thefts from cars parked at Blast Gym took place in the back parking lot after 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, Wildman said. When the gym was Bally's Total Fitness, reported thefts took place then, too.

  • Car Broken Into At Bally Total Fitness
  • Theft of Multiple Wallets at Bally's

Several purse thefts reportedly took place in the Hop Brook Dam parking lot, off Straits Turnpike, according to Wildman.

What Alleged Purse Thieves Look For

"What the perpetrator is watching for are women leaving to go for a walk [without] a purse," Wildman stated in a press release. "The perpetrator(s) then figure there is a purse inside the vehicle."

Wildman said a perpetrator will watch for a woman who parks her vehicle and opens the trunk from within the vehicle after the car is parked and then puts her purse inside.

"The perpetrator knows that there is some type of trunk release inside that doesn't require the car to be running," he said.

The car window is typically broken, the trunk release activated and the purse grabbed, said Wildman.

"Perpetrator(s) are looking for quick cash and in some instances they will use stolen credit cards to purchase electronics, prepaid gift cards, and gas," he said.

Anyone who saw a suspicious sight or person around the Chase Road Greenway parking area this afternoon is asked to call Middlebury Police at 203-577-4028.

If someone sees a suspicious person parked and watching people, Wildman said they should not hesitate to call the police.

"A lot of cases get solved by ordinary citizens calling in suspicious activity," he said.


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