BRAZEN ATTACK: Video shows violent daytime carjacking in Westport man’s garage
Westport police released security camera footage of a local man violently carjacked in his own garage in the middle of the day. The brazen attack happened at a house on Bayberry Lane around 3:50 p.m. Sunday after the thieves targeted the victim and followed him home, police said.
The victim had just pulled into the garage and was still in his Aston Martin when two men wearing masks come through the open garage door, the video shows. Police said the suspects implied they had a gun and ordered the victim out of his car. When he refused, it got violent.
The suspects are seen on video pulling the victim out of the car as he’s heard saying, “Don’t do it! No guys, no!” At some point, his shirt gets ripped open as he fights back and yells to his wife inside to call police.
“He was punched. He was dragged. He was choked,” said Lt. Eric Woods. “The physical part is he was assaulted. The emotional part is what you're not going to see.”
As the beating continues, the video picks up the victim’s wife screaming for help once she sees what’s going on. Then one suspect gets into the car and backs out, the other jumps into the passenger side, and they speed off, the footage shows.
Police said they were followed by the car the two suspects arrived in—a dark blue BMW, which was stolen out of Norwalk.
Woods said when the 911 call came in for carjacking, they sent officers to “escape routes” in town—entrance ramps to I-95 and the Merritt Parkway.
“We understand that typically most of these cars are going to Waterbury, Berlin, New Britain, Bridgeport,” Woods explained.
He said Chief Foti Koskinas started following the stolen cars as they got onto I-95 northbound.
“At this point it was still very early on in the investigation. We didn't know if there was a violent struggle, which changes how we respond to stolen vehicles,” Woods told News 12.
State law prohibits chasing stolen vehicles. Woods said it wasn’t long before the suspects realized they were being followed and started driving erratically and aggressively, so Koskinas backed off.
“The last place that we saw them was on Route 8 heading north,” Woods said.
Car thefts aren't new to Westport. According to police there were 35 in 2020, 57 in 2021, and 43 in 2022—always unlocked cars with the keys or fob inside. This year, car thefts are on the rise again with 50 so far, putting the town on track to surpass its prior high. But this incident was different.
“We've never had an interaction where people have been violently removed from their vehicle and then the car stolen,” Woods told News 12. “Most stolen cars were being taken some time in the middle of the night when people were sleeping out of their driveway. There were no interactions with the operator of the vehicle, and slowly it's progressing.”
Woods said the last couple stolen cars were taken during the day from driveways when people were bringing groceries inside. But again, there was no confrontation. This went well beyond that.
“We've gone to a new level,” Woods said. “But it's what we've all been talking about we feared was going to start coming.”
He told News 12 the department believes the escalation is due in part to a lax judicial system and said legislators need to do something. Woods said from what Westport has seen, the thieves are usually juveniles from major cities around the state. They’re often quickly released because of low bail or now bail, so they’re not stopping, he said.
“We have to recognize this issue of ‘catch and release’ as the chief has said of juveniles in this state,” Woods told News 12.
Woods said if the suspects in Sunday’s carjacking are caught, they will face more serious consequences. Police plan to push for charges of home invasion, carjacking, robbery, burglary, assault, and if the victim is over the age of 60, assaulting the elderly.
Police have not recovered the Aston Martin yet, but they typically find almost all cars that are stolen in Westport, according to Woods.
“The days of chop shops and putting these things on shipping containers to someplace and getting paid for it is just not what they're doing anymore,” Woods explained. “These kids are going back to where they live and bringing these stolen cars. And typically, we find them either just abandoned on the side of the road, or they get involved in other crimes—robberies or thefts or stealing other cars.”
He said to try to prevent yourself from being a victim, be very aware of your surroundings and if something doesn’t look or feel right, call police. They also remind you to lock your car and take all keys, fobs, and valuables inside. If possible, park your car in a locked garage.
“These are all things that we hate to have to talk about, but it's where we've gotten to,” Woods told News 12.
Woods also said, if you are confronted by a suspect, don’t put up a fight.
“We understand where the victim was coming from, and we understand you're trying to protect your property and your family and things like that. At the end of the day, it's a car, we ask that you try not to engage,” Woods said. “We don't want to see people get hurt or god forbid killed because they're trying to protect some property.”
Anyone with information on the Bayberry Lane carjacking is asked to call the police department’s detective bureau at 203-341-6080.