18-year old Erica Abraham was arrested Tuesday afternoon by police in Broward County in connection with four attacks in Publix parking lots in Broward county. The attacks were part of at least nine in Broward and Palm Beach County. The investigation is still ongoing and police are looking for several suspects.
Many Boca Raton residents now have safety concerns on top of their grocery list when they go shopping at Publix.
“I won’t go out by myself," said Boca Raton resident Cindy Cottone. "I make sure I have somebody with me.”
After six attacks in Broward county, the incidents moved into southern Palm Beach county Friday night at the Publix parking lot on North Federal Highway.
A woman had just loaded her groceries when another woman opened her passenger door and stole her purse.
“To not be able to go out and shop and feel safe it’s just real scary,” Cottone said.
At another Publix location, a victim had just gotten into her car when a man opened the passenger door of her car, sat down and pushed her out of the car.
During the last attack on Sunday, a man in a ski mask was waiting in the car for the victim, demanding the keys.
“Knowing that I’m safe when I’m here that would mean a lot," Cottone said. "Knowing that they don’t have anything here, that makes me not want to shop here.”
Many Boca Raton residents are now asking for more security measures.
“I think everybody wants answers and we deserve answers," said Darcie Hargis.
Publix Spokesperson Maria Brous said Tuesday the company is working closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of their customers and their staff. Brous couldn’t go into details, including whether or not they’re going to have security officers present. She said she couldn’t comment since the investigation is ongoing but she offered some suggestions.
“We offer carry out services to help customers to their car to help them feel more secure,” Brous said.