HACKENSACK, N.J. – Two thieves pummeled a personal employee of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and carjacked the billionaire’s Lexus Wednesday morning in New Jersey.

Within hours, authorities found the mayor’s 2001 gray Lexus abandoned, with no apparent damage, on a street a few miles from the scene of the Hackensack carjacking.

The two suspects were on the loose Wednesday night, but investigators said they have no reason to believe the thieves knew the car belonged to Bloomberg.

The carjack drama unfolded just before 8:45 a.m. when Gradimir Bosnjak, 62, one of Bloomberg’s household employees, was sitting alone in the mayor’s Lexus in Hackensack.

He was there to pick up the maid of the mayor’s ex-wife and drive her to Susan Bloomberg’s home in Manhattan.

A woman wearing a nose ring approached the driver’s door window and asked Bosnjak for money.

He said no and was closing the window when a man jumped into the car through the front passenger door.

The thug punched the driver in the face, police said. A struggle ensued, but the two thieves ultimately forced Bosnjak out of the mayor’s car, cops said.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Hackensack Police Chief Charles Zisa. “We don’t believe this had any connection with the mayor at all.”

At 11 a.m., authorities found the Lexus abandoned in nearby Fair Lawn. Nothing was stolen and the car didn’t appear damaged, police said.

The housekeeper said she had a “giant knot in her stomach” about the entire episode.

“I feel terrible,” the maid told the New York Daily News, which is withholding her name. “I’m scared.”

She said Bosnjak regularly picks her up at 8:30 a.m., but she was running a little late yesterday. “We use that car to go back and forth,” she said, adding, “I’m glad he’s okay.”

Bosnjak, who suffered a bruise below his eye, refused medical attention.

Neighbors described the tree-lined street as being very quiet, the type of area where you can hear acorns dropping from the trees. Police said they believe the duo may have attempted to carjack another vehicle before assaulting Bosnjak, who is from Queens.

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor, said Bloomberg spoke with Bosnjak after the carjacking.

“The mayor appreciates the Hackensack Police Department’s hard work and hopes that those who committed this crime are swiftly brought to justice,” Loeser said.

(Coleman and Fenner reported from Hackensack, N.J.; Saul reported from New York. New York Daily News correspondent Derek Rose contributed to this report.)

(c) 2006, New York Daily News.

Visit the Daily News online at http://www.nydailynews.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-10-18-06 2109EDT

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