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Police believe thefts and robbery in West Hartford, Waterbury are connected

They believe a group of four people stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from the stores.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The West Hartford Police Department needs your help as they search for four suspects they believe are connected to three incidents in Waterbury and West Hartford.

"We were able to review video and we do think it was the same exact suspects," said Sgt. Amanda Martin with West Hartford Police.

It all happened on Tuesday afternoon when police say four suspects robbed the Macy's at Westfarms Mall. The four people were caught on surveillance video walking into the store, going behind the fragrance counter, and filling garbage bags with thousands of dollars in perfumes.

A Macy’s loss prevention officer intervened and had a physical struggle with one of the suspects when one of them indicated they may have a weapon on them, reaching for their waistband.

The suspects then left the store, but seven minutes later, police said they committed a similar theft at the Ulta on 1555 New Britain Ave across the street. 

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In this incident though, nobody engaged with the suspects. But the store had already been warned about a theft happening at one of its other stores earlier.

“Ulta Beauty had been tipped off by their Waterbury store that that same exact thing had happened to them about 20 minutes prior," Sgt. Martin said.

Police believe the group drove a dark grey Toyota Highlander from Waterbury to West Hartford in 20 minutes. Ultimately stealing thousands of dollars in items from the Ulta in Waterbury, and the Macy's and Ulta in West Hartford. 

Credit: West Hartford Police

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“We do believe they are the same suspects. Same vehicle, same descriptions and the same M.O.," said Capt. Eric Rocheleau, who works in Administrative Services for West Hartford Police Department.

This type of retail crime is becoming a national and local trend. West Hartford has seen a few of these cases, but it's not as prevalent in their town.

"We did see it last month just before Christmas where the exact same thing happened. A crew went in through Ulta, again collected a whole bunch of merchandise, very quickly ran out. So it has happened, luckily nobody's been hurt over it," Capt. Rocheleau said.

The state is working on the problem, even creating a retail crime task force.

RELATED: Thieves stuff trash bags full of merchandise from West Hartford Macy's, Ulta: police

At a press conference on Tuesday, Attorney General William Tong said the task force is in its early stages and his office is coordinating with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to stop the trend.

“If we didn’t know what it was before, we certainly do now and we’re doing everything we can to stop it," said Tong.

In the meantime, police need your help finding the suspects from Tuesday's thefts and robbery.

"We’re hoping that maybe friends family that recognize them or maybe if someone wants to do the right thing and come forward," Sgt. Martin said. 

If you have any information on the incidents, give West Hartford Police a call at (860) 523-5203. You can remain anonymous.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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