By Elizabeth Hur
FOLCROFT, Pa. (CBS) — A shocking crime in Delaware County – police say a group of teens beat up a defenseless man and left him with facial injuries, blurred vision, broken bones and a punctured lung.
Police call the 31-year-old victim a “concerned citizen” who was attacked unprovoked when he went to check on some smoke coming from the woods behind his house.
Danielle Lauria recalls hearing the cries for help then seeing what the commotion was all about.
Lauria explained, “Oh I felt so bad, he just looked horrible. There was blood all over his hoodie, blood coming down from the face, the right eye was almost swollen shut.”
Lauria says she called 911 after her neighbors carried out the bloodied man from the woods behind their homes in the 700 block of Windsor Circle in Folcroft. It happened Saturday evening at a spot neighborhood juveniles are known to frequent but until now, has not been a problem.
Bill Kelly, neighbor, said, “Now you have to be careful, because kids are getting violent.”
Chief Robert Ruskowski added, “They left him there like he was some kind of animal.”
According to police, the 31-year-old victim found about a dozen juveniles by a bonfire. Five of them, ranging in age from 14 to 17, beat him so severely he was hospitalized for four days.
Ruskowski said, “They’re worthless, they’re useless. They’re nothing but a bunch of cowards.”
Anthony Suydam responded, “I wouldn’t call them cowards. I’d say it was making a mistake. They shouldn’t have done the things that they did.”
Suydam says he knows all five now in custody. He believes alcohol may have impaired their judgment. Police are less sympathetic and issued a stern warning for parents who choose to ignore the 9pm curfew.
“I hope those parents have a lot of money because every time we get one of these kids and it’s past curfew and they’re up to no good, we’re going to hit them as hard as we can with everything we can.”
As for a motive in this beating, investigators say the boys thought it was a joke.
“Until they realized they were going out to the county’s Juvenile Detention Center, they thought this was fun and games. They wanted to play with the water fountain when they were being processed,” Ruskowski said.
Police say they will now ask the Delaware County District Attorney to review the case and charge the juveniles as adults for Attempted Homicide.
The investigation is continuing and police say more arrests are pending. Police say unless the remaining seven juveniles, present at the time of the attack, come forward and cooperate with investigators as witnesses, they, too, will be charged with a crime.
In the meantime, the victim was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and is now recovering at home.