Listen, I drank in the woods in high school. Granted, we had a lot more woods in central Pennsylvania and probably a lot more people with a lot less teeth willing to buy us beer, but I know the same thing goes on in Delco.
But this weekend, that rite of passage (which we here at Daily Delco are in no way condoning) turned brutally dark in Folcroft when five kids between 14 and 17 who were drinking in the woods beat the pulp out of a 31-year-old "concerned citizen" who dared to check on why there was smoke coming from the woods behind his house.
Folcroft Police Chief Robert Ruskowski said about eight kids were in the woods behind Windsor Circle, drinking beers and sitting around a bonfire around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. A nearby resident came out of his house, saw the smoke rising from above the trees and went to check on the source.
What started as a normal conversation between the 31-year-old "concerned citizen" and the teens, ended up with five of the boys beating the man all at once, police said.
"Some of the kids we arrested this time we've had numerous times," Ruskowski said. "They're not even worth the air they're breathing."
The victim suffered two fractured eye sockets, a collapsed lung and a puncture wound to his back, among numerous other injuries. He remains in serious condition at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
"He has bruises from head to toe on both sides," Ruskowski said. "All over nothing."
After they beat him unconscious, the kids ran away and other residents concerned about the smoke from the woods went to check on the source, found the victim and carried him out, Ruskowksi said. Several of the kids who were in the group drinking in the woods but who did not participate in the assault came back and gave information to responding police officers.
Four of the five kids charged were arrested on the street and a fifth was arrested at his home, according to police.
"We had them in custody that night and they thought it was a big joke," Ruskowski said.
The teens have been charged as juveniles with aggravated assault and related offenses but Ruskowski said he'd like to see them charged as adults with attempted homicide.
"The violence is just unbelievable," he said. "I'm trying to calm the residents in the area who think it's time for some payback."