Lisa Roberson and Ben Norris
LORAIN — Police are investigating whether five attacks that took place over the course of three days were committed by the same group of men.
Sgt. Mark Carpentiere said there is no way of knowing for sure if the incidents are connected, but officers are exploring that possibility.
“We’re hoping to first identify the suspects and then determine if there is a connection,” he said. “Each attack does seem to fit a similar pattern.”
Officers on Thursday arrested a 17-year-old boy who they are hoping will provide officers with information about the attacks and, possibly, the other assailants, Carpentiere said.
The teen was arrested in connection with an attack on a 61-year-old man who was walking to a store on the 2800 block of Fulton Road about
9 p.m. when he was approached by four or five black men who asked for a cigarette.
The man went into the store, but when he left, he told police he was assaulted by the same males — they struck him under the eye with a brick and kicked and punched him when he fell to the ground, police said.
The victim told police he dropped the beer he had purchased, which was stolen by the men before they ran off.
The 61-year-old told police he went back to the store and asked for someone to call the police. He bought more beer, and then he headed out of the store for a second time only to spot the suspects again.
He said he dropped his beer and ran back inside, but the suspects followed him and tried to strike him again, police said. That’s when the man told police he pulled out his pocket knife and waved it at them — trying to scare them because he feared for his life, police said.
The man said the suspects again got the best of him and they punched and kicked him. He ended up with a separated shoulder, and he was treated at CHP Regional Medical Center, police said.
Just a little while later, police were dispatched to East 39th Street for a 17-year-old male who had been stabbed, a police report said. The juvenile — whose wound paramedics described as superficial — wouldn’t tell police how it happened.
The 61-year-old victim identified the 17-year-old as one of his assailants, police said, and the teen was charged with aggravated robbery and felonious assault.
The other incidents include a home invasion robbery, a carjacking, and two assaults on men walking down the street.
The first took place around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday at a home on the 900 block of Washington Ave., where an 18-year-old male said four masked black men with small handguns burst into his home. They put a gun to his uncle’s chest and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire, the teen told police.
The group left with a $300 cell phone, a police report said.
Less than an hour later, another victim told police he was driving his 2007 Chrysler Sebring in the area of West 22nd Street and Beech Avenue when he was approached by a black male. The man punched the 42-year-old driver in the face and grabbed him while another black male tried to pull him from the car from the passenger side.
When they couldn’t get him out, they jumped in with him, and the victim told police they were hitting him and rifling through his pockets while doing so — taking his wallet and $92.
The victim said he was screaming for help and bystanders watched as he was attacked.
He said he finally managed to get away from his assailants, and his girlfriend found him staggering down Pearl Avenue, where she went to look for him after someone answered his cell phone and told her he’d just been attacked, police said.
He was treated at CHP Regional Medical Center, where doctors closed a wound to his forehead with several stitches. He also received a black eye, cuts and scrapes on his body and a fractured nose in the attack. His face was swollen, and the imprint of a Nike-brand shoe was on his back, police said.
The two additional attacks occurred Wednesday night, police said.
One was to a man walking on West 32nd Street, and the second was to a man walking on West 21st Street, police said.
A 53-year-old man told police as he was walking near West 21st Street and Broadway just before 10 p.m., a group of four black males started hurling rocks at him. When he yelled for them to stop, they began chasing him, a police report said.
When they caught up to him, they started pummeling him with their fists. He fought them off and got away, immediately calling the police, but the suspects weren’t found.
About an hour later, a 26-year-old man said he was walking to work near West 32nd Street and Reid Avenue when he was kicked in the back and knocked to the ground. As he turned around, he saw four black males, who began punching and kicking him while he was on the ground, police said.
At one point, one of the suspects demanded his wallet. When the victim compiled, the suspect laughed and threw the wallet back in his face, he told police.
The victim said he got away only to be caught and beaten a second time. He received minor injuries and was treated in the emergency room.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or email@example.com.
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.