Suspect arrested in carjacking outside Lawrenceville Acme

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Police in Mercer County have arrested a man who they say attacked a 77-year-old woman in a shopping center parking lot and drove off with her car.

47-year-old Robert McClain of Trenton is charged with Carjacking, Receiving Stolen Property and Theft.

He was arrested Tuesday night at the Avalon Apartments in Lawrence Township after authorities say officers spotted him getting into the 2013 Kia stolen from the victim Monday afternoon.

When they searched McClain, police say, officers found the victim's car keys and a white plastic bag containing her handbag.

Bail for McClain has not been set.

Investigators say it was Monday afternoon when McClain approached the 77-year-old victim in the parking lot of the Acme supermarket at the Lawrenceville Shopping Center on Business Route 1.

She was sitting in her car. The suspect began screaming at her to hand over her keys.

Frightened and overwhelmed, she apparently wasn't moving quickly enough.

So, police say, McClain reached in, pulled her out of the car, and took off in the victim's silver 2013 Kia Rio.

Lawrence Township Police Det. Sgt. Joe Lech explained, "In the middle of the day, 3:30 in the afternoon. There's people walking around and this violent individual rips her out of her car, throws her to the ground without any regard for her safety."

Patricia Johnson of Lawrence reacted to the incident by saying, "It's disgusting. I have an older mother and I think it's awful, and I mean right out in broad - it was daylight."

Police believe the same suspect used the victim's credit cards at three convenience stores in Mercer County and also robbed a Shop Rite on Route 130 in East Windsor around 11:30 Monday night.

Det. Sgt. Lech says, "A black male matching our description forcibly stole cash from the register at the Shop Rite and fled. We believe it to be the same vehicle that was stolen from our Acme."

Some customers at the Acme are unnerved by the senseless violence in the middle of the parking lot where they've always felt safe.

Ross Burrows says, "This has always been a safe, real nice place. So we love this place, but now we have to be careful."

The 77-year-old carjacking victim was terrified, investigators say, and suffered minor cuts and bruises when she was pulled from her car.

"She's shook up but she's going to be okay," Lech said.
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