HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – For generations families have known the Broadwalk in Hollywood as a gateway to one of the best family beaches in South Florida.
But in the last couple of weeks it has been the scene of several ruthless attacks in which people were beaten and robbed.
The latest happened early Sunday morning when 76-year old Paul Spates was taking his morning walk. Spates said just before 6 a.m. he was near Fillmore Street when he saw two guys walking towards him who appeared to be drunk. When they got near to him, Spates said the attacked.
“He said ‘Do you have any water’ and I said ‘I don’t have any water, I don’t have any money, I don’t have nothing’,” recalled Spates. “Right away he punched my face and then I fell down and he started kicking me and I ‘Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me’.”
As he struggled to protect himself, he was kicked several times in the head as they searched his pockets.
“I was like all curled up and their feet were coming through my arms as they were kicking me,” said Spates.
They then grabbed a rock or brick and slammed it into Spates’ head. They got away with Spates’ $19 Timex watch and his house keys.
“I didn’t have nothing. I told them I didn’t have nothing. If they slap me and say ‘You cheap bastard’ that would be it,” said Spates. “But to do what they did knowing I didn’t have nothing.”
Police said the attack and robbery was similar to three others recently.
Don Hendrickson said he was walking home early in the morning on March 5 when a teen approached and asked him for a dollar.
“I said, ‘Sorry. I don’t,’ Hendrickson said. “I started to walk away. In the meantime, I turned my back and the other three guys jumped me.”
Hendrickson said the attack lasted 10-15 minutes and left him with two black eyes, swollen ears and various cuts and scrapes.
“My son said I looked like I went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali,” he said.
The thieves stole his wallet and about $300. He said he’s lucky to be alive but is worried how the attacks on him and the others will affect tourism on Hollywood Beach.
“It’s bad for everybody,” he said. “It gives the beach a bad name.”
On Thursday, March 10th, around midnight, three males and a female stole a purse from a woman about a block away from where Spates was attacked. The group also beat up a man in the same area and stole $16 thousand in jewelry.
Police suspect another attack which happened not far from the beach may also be related to their investigation.
On Saturday, March 9th, a man was mugged around 11 p.m. in the 12-hundred block of Hollywood Boulevard. The man told police while he was walking along when a man came up to him and asked him for the time.
As he continued walking he noticed the guy who asked him for the time, and two other males, were following him. The man said when they caught up with him they jumped him, repeatedly punched and stole his phone and groceries.
The police only have a vague description of the attackers. Several of the victims said three or four white, teenage males beat and robbed them. In one instance, a white teenage girl was said to be involved.
People who walk the Broadwalk said they are worried.
“We have to really be careful,” Luisa Lopez said. “I won’t send my husband (out) any more at 6 o’clock. I’m gonna say, go after 7.”
Anyone with information about these attacks is asked to call the Hollywood Police Department at (954) 967-4411 or Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.