updated 10/18/2006 2:02:30 PM ET 2006-10-18T18:02:30

One of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal employees was beaten by thieves who then stole the billionaire’s car Wednesday morning in New Jersey, authorities said.

The employee was driving the 2001 Lexus in Hackensack on an errand for the mayor shortly before 9 a.m. when he was approached by a woman asking for money, police said. As he declined and began to roll up the window, a man got into the passenger seat and punched him in the face.

“They force him out and take off,” said Capt. Frank Lomia of the Hackensack Police Dept. The employee, whose name was not released, was not seriously injured.

The car was found about two hours later, abandoned on the side of the road in Fairlawn. Police were looking for the suspects.

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