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Two severed legs, two arms without hands found in New Haven, Conn.

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By Ari Mason, NBC Connecticut – NEW HAVEN, Conn. (NBC CONNECTICUT) - Police found not one, but two severed arms in downtown New Haven last night, about a block away from where they uncovered a pair of human legs.

New Haven police said the dismembered arms – both missing hands – were found stuffed in a plastic bag under the Chapel Street bridge, about 6-8 feet below ground level.

Police made the gruesome discovery after someone alerted them to the smell of rotting flesh.

"We're dealing with parts of the arms from the shoulder to where the wrists would be," New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Police uncovered the arms hours after another resident spotted two severed legs near the State Street train station. Hartman said Thursday "the legs were about from the knee down."

Although police cannot say for sure whether all four limbs are from the same person, Hartman said Thursday "it would be incredibly coincidental and... incredibly disturbing if they were separate cases."

Authorities guarded the crime scenes overnight and spent five hours searching the area Thursday. Cadaver dogs found nothing new, and Hartman said he doesn't expect the search to continue.

He said police are treating the locations where the limbs were found as "secondary crime scenes" and believe the dismemberment happened elsewhere.

"There's no evidence that we've uncovered yet to support any idea that the limbs were severed where they were found," Hartman said. "So we also have no reason to believe that other body parts will be found necessarily in this area over being found in any other area."

The limbs have been turned over to the state medical examiner's office and will undergo forensic testing, which Hartman said is the only way to identify the person or people to whom they belong. He expects to receive lab results in about a week and a half.

Authorities will then check local and national databases to see if the limbs match anyone reported missing. Already, police have received calls from other departments handling dismembered body cases to investigate a possible link.