NEW YORK (WABC) – Police are looking for suspects in at least four armed carjackings in Queens and Brooklyn.

The thefts took place between October 15 and 27.

In all incidents involving the same crew, investigators say the robbers first rear-ended the victim’s car, and while they were inspecting the damage, the suspects pulled out a gun and drove off with both cars.

In two out of four cases, the victims were punched and kicked. All but one of the incidents occurred after midnight.

Officials say the scheme appears to involve a series of car thefts. Almost all the cars in this scheme were later found abandoned and returned to their owners.

Investigators released video of one of the incidents to help identify the suspects.

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce says drivers need to be vigilant.

“It’s dangerous and it’s late at night. There aren’t many people on the road,” he said.

In September, a driver was rammed and eventually cornered by thieves during a wild armed robbery on the streets of Manhattan. In this case, the victim became a victim not for the car, but for the money.

Since the pandemic, the number of car thefts has increased dramatically, from 112 in 2018 and 132 in 2019 to 328 in 2020 and 511 in 2021. The total number of car thefts has increased by 123% this year.

Chief Boyce says the advice is simple.

“If you really get hit like that out of nowhere, take a long, hard look in your rearview mirror,” he said. “If several people get out of the car, you have to get out as quickly as possible. Do you see several people getting out of the car? That’s the problem.”

AAA’s Robert Sinclair.

“We always say it’s better not to resist, you know? Keep comprehensive insurance coverage on your car so you can get something back in case the car isn’t returned,” he said. “But your life is worth more than a vehicle.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

RELATED: Eyewitness News tracks crime and safety in New York City and in your area

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