AVENTURA (CBSMiami) – The victim in the latest Publix robbery – this time in Aventura – told CBS4’s Carey Codd that she was putting her groceries into her car when a man in a black Nissan Altima followed her out of the parking lot.
A short time later, a few miles from the store, the victim said the man viciously attacked her.
The woman – who asked us to conceal her identity – showed Codd the marks on her car where a male robber bumped her vehicle Monday afternoon before making her his latest victim.
“The car bumped me and I said in my mind, ‘Don’t get out,'” she said.
But she did get out.
The accident happened at around noon near a guard gate and three condominiums in Aventura.
Almost as soon as the woman got out of her car, she realized she’d made a mistake.
“I got back into my car and the second I got back in my car, he jumped me,” she said. “He was on top of me, strangling me. He screamed into my ear, ‘Shut up, you (expletive). I have a gun and give me your ring.'”
The victim handed over the engagement ring and wedding rings she’s been wearing for three decades, but she’s grateful she’s alive.
“I feel actually lucky that I wasn’t more hurt than I was but devastated that somebody was able to put their hands on me,” she said.
Aventura police said this is the second time this month that a robber followed a female Publix shopper.
They use the ploy of an accident to distract their victim before attacking and threatening them while stealing their expensive jewelry.
There has been a rash of robberies at Publix stores from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach over the past few weeks.
In Broward, Erica Abraham and a 16-year-old girl are charged with pepper spraying an elderly woman and stealing her car after following her home from Publix.
There were four such incidents in Plantation and others in Davie and Fort Lauderdale, leaving victims beaten and bruised.
A third suspect is still being sought.
At this point, Aventura police do not believe their cases are connected to the Broward ones.
The latest victim in the Aventura cases offered advice for anyone shopping alone.
“Don’t get out of your car if someone bumps your car,” she said. “Stay in your car. Drive away to a safe place and be aware of your surroundings and look for people that could be following you.”
A spokesperson for Publix says they are taking measures to protect customers like asking police for greater presence in these shopping centers. The company also recommends people ask a Publix employee to accompany them to their car after or into the store if they feel unsafe.
If you can help investigators solve these robberies, contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.