Collingswood police are trying to determine if a series of recent attacks on older residents—including a reported carjacking—at the Heights of Collingswood apartment complex are connected.
Over the past month at the sprawling on Collings Avenue, three residents have been attacked, and a fourth possible assault was reported but not yet substantiated by police.
"We're trying to tie all the incidents together to see if they're related," said Collingswood Police Lt. Glenn A. Prince.
did not release information about the incidents until Thursday morning.
Prince provided the following information about the attacks:
• On Dec. 10, 2011, at about 3:30 p.m., police responded to a report of an assault in the parking lot of Building C at the complex. A 68-year-old man told police that as he exited his vehicle, two males who appeared to be in their late teens to early 20s approached him, and one brandished what appeared to be a black handgun. One of the males pushed the victim to the ground, and the other stuck the gun in the man's chest. The victim tried to get to his feet, but was again pushed to the ground. At that time, an unidentified motorist pulled into the parking lot, and the suspects fled. Nothing was taken from the victim, and he was not injured.
• Two days later, on Dec. 12 at about 8:30 p.m., police responded to another report of an assault in the same parking lot. The incident was reported by a resident who reportedly witnessed it from a balcony. By the time police arrived, the victim and the perpetrators were gone. The report remains under investigation. "We were unable to find anybody out there" after responding to the initial call, Prince said. "We're not sure if it really happened, and if it was a robbery or an assault."
• On New Year's Eve, at about 10:30 p.m. police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery, also in the parking lot of Building C. A 64-year-old man told police he was walking his dog when he was approached by two males who pushed him to the ground. One of the males took the victim's wallet, and both suspects fled on foot. The victim was not injured.
• In the most recent incident, at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a report of a carjacking in the parking of Building A. A 64-year-old woman told police she had just exited her vehicle, a black 2003 Ford Taurus, when four males approached her and one of them pushed her to the ground. One of the males grabbed the victim's purse and removed the car keys from it. He then got into the vehicle and drove off. Prince said it was not immediately clear whether the other suspects also got into the car, or if the woman suffered any injuries. The vehicle apparently was recovered in Camden on Wednesday night by Camden Police following a brief pursuit, but Prince was unable to provide additional details.
Police were unable to provide detailed physical descriptions of the suspects in each of the incidents. Prince said detectives are aggressively investigating the alleged crimes.
He reminded residents to immediately call police if they see or hear anything suspicious.
"Let us determine if it's a valid complaint," Prince said. "Our policy is to respond to all complaints, no matter how trivial they might seem."
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Collingswood Police Detective Sgt. Guy DeRitis at 856-854-2401, ext. 102.