LAKE GROVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A woman on Long Island was carjacked at gunpoint in a Whole Foods parking lot on Monday night, police said.
Stephanie Rodriguez told CBS2’s Matt Kozar she was sitting in her car in the parking lot at around 10:30 p.m. waiting for her boyfriend to finish work when a man approached the driver’s side window and asked for directions.
It was the beginning of a terrifying experience she said she’ll never forget.
It all started with a knock on the window.
“I roll it down just a little bit so I can hear him, and he goes, ‘Can you tell me where 80 Maple Dr. is?’ So I grab my phone, I type it in, and when I ask what town, he pulls a gun and points it at me through the crack and tells me to get out of the car,” Rodriguez said.
The 23-year-old she she froze as the armed man drove off in her 2008 white Chrysler Sebring, along with her purse, credit cards and driver’s license.
When asked what passed through her mind when she saw the gun pointed at her, Rodriguez said, “I was honestly thinking if I don’t listen I’m probably going to get shot.”
Because the carjacker now has her identification, including her home address, she said she’s changed the locks at her house.
With the suspect at large, Suffolk County police patrolled the shopping mall on New Moriches Road in Lake Grove, where the incident occurred. All of the stores remain open, including the Whole Foods, where grocery shoppers told Kozar they are surprised such a brazen crime could happen in their quiet suburban town.
“It does concern me, these kind of incidents. It’s just unavoidable, I guess. You wouldn’t expect it here,” one person said.
Rodriguez said it’s important shoppers pay attention to their surroundings at all times, especially at night. However, even she admits that she was tricked.
“I’m not saying suspect everyone to be ill-willed, but at this point, you really just can’t ever tell because he looked completely normal to me. I wouldn’t have even given him a second glance,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the man who carjacked her had a backpack and a hooded sweatshirt. She said he had dark skin, brown eyes and a scruffy beard.
Anyone with information about the carjacking is asked to call the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.