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.

“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.

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.

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