METHUEN — An 18-year-old man was assaulted and his rented car stolen as he delivered newspapers on Lowell Street early Sunday morning, police said.

The carrier told police he was delivering newspapers on Lowell Street about 5:40 a.m., when a car stopped across the street from him and a man got out and started looking at him. The victim said he continued delivering newspapers and the man got back into his car, turned it around, and pulled in front of his car.

Three men exited the car and one of them repeatedly asked the victim what he was doing with his sister. The victim said he told the man he did not know his sister. Each time, the victim told the man he did not know his sister and he had a girlfriend.

The man punched the victim in the eye. The victim ran away, but dropped his car keys in the grass.

He told police he hid in a storage shed on Oakland Avenue for several minutes before ringing doorbells seeking help from neighbors. He then ran toward the Lowell Arms Apartments, where he flagged down a passing motorist and asked them to call police.

The car was found a short time later on Almonte Street, near the intersection of Ashland Avenue. The car was left in the middle of the street with the passenger door open, police said.

The car was towed to the police station for fingerprinting.

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