The “Easter Bandits,” as they have come to be known, struck the Litchfield Filling Station on Sunday March 21.
This is the third Easter season that the station has had scrap metal and catalytic converters stolen from its location at 384 Torrington Road, about two miles south of the Torrington border on Route 202, the Torrington Register reports.
This year, a total of about $2,000 worth of parts was stolen from five cars that were parked outside the building. The cars all belonged to customers, The Register Citizen reports. The robbery happened sometime between 9 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday.
Even though the robberies always happen at the same time of year, R.J. Ford, the owner of Litchfield Filling Station, said he thinks the Easter Bandits’ faces change every year.
“No one would be stupid enough to come back every time,” he said. “All the dirt bags get out of jail at this time and they are looking for something to do, and the weather is warm.”
Ford said he was not prepared for the bandits to strike again this year since they spared the station last year. According to Ford, the value of scrap metal was low last year, but now that it’s high again the robbers came back.
Next time, though, he’ll be prepared. Ford is having outdoor cameras installed as well as better lighting out in the parking lot. The police have also been patrolling the station and the surrounding area since the robbery happened.
“It's tough because we are in a remote area,” Ford said. “In the middle of the night no one is out except criminals and cops, and unless they cross paths they won’t get caught.”
In fact, one of the catalytic converters was taken from a car that was in plain sight of the road, but nobody was around to see it, he said.
According to Ford, business has not suffered much from the robberies because police have reassured customers that there will not be another incident. All the surrounding businesses have also heightened security, Ford said.
As far as the identities of the Easter Bandits, Ford may not know who they are, but he suspects them to be experienced thieves.
“We are in a very friendly area. We don’t expect it from locals,” Ford said. “The way it was done was professional; they must be from out of town.”