By Joan Murray

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PLANTATION (CBSMiami) – Shoppers are terrified after learning about a group of thieves armed with pepper spray said to be targeting and robbing women across South Florida.

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“I think it’s scary,” said shopper Ariel Ashkenazi. “I didn’t know it was happening.”

CBS4 has learned of four attacks in Plantation, another in Dania Beach and a sixth in Fort Lauderdale.

Police say many of the attacks have happened in Publix shopping center parking lots.

There was an attack at a Griffin Road location where a woman was pepper sprayed and fought off her attackers, hanging on to her purse but robbed of two cellphones.

In Plantation, police said, a 73-year-old woman was followed from a Publix to her home where the assailants rear ended her then robbed beat and carjacked her.

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Police said the assailant punched the woman in the head three times before snatching her purse.

Detectives say often it’s a thin black man accompanied by one or two young black women.

They are pepper spraying and robbing their victims before fleeing in a dark Nissan Altima.

Ashkenazi will be prepared, ready to fight the attackers with a dose of their own medicine.

“My mom bought me pepper spray and I’m going carry it with me,” Ashkenazi said.

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If you have any information that can help police, please contact Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.