Teens near Philadelphia brutally beat "concerned citizen," police say

Wooded site near Philadelphia, Pa. where police say a group of teens brutally beat a man who went to check on smoke coming from behind his house on Saturday, March 31, 2012
CBS Philly

(CBS) FOLCROF, Pa. - 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 Saturday evening, in a borough bordering Philadelphia.

According to CBS Philly, 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 in Folcrof, Pa.

Passerby Danielle Lauria recalls hearing the cries for help, then seeing what all the commotion was all about.

"Oh I felt so bad, he just looked horrible," she said. "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 from a spot neighborhood juveniles are known to frequent but until now, has not been a problem.

Chief Robert Ruskowski said of the victim, "They left him there like he was some kind of animal."

According to police, the victim had found about a dozen juveniles by a bonfire in the woods. Five of them, ranging in age from 14 to 17, beat him so severely he was hospitalized for four days, CBS Philly reported.

As for a motive, 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.

Authorities say the investigation is continuing and say more arrests are pending. Law enforcement officials say unless the remaining seven juveniles present at the attack come forward and cooperate with investigators as witnesses, they, too, will be charged with a crime.

The victim was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and is now recovering at home.