Police Lt. Greg Petek, a detective working on the case, said three black males ranging in age from 15 to 20 are being sought for the Saturday night attack that left 16-year-old Nick Vincenzo with a broken facial bone and bruises.
“We’re asking for any witnesses who might have seen something to give us a call,” Petek said. “Center Ridge Road is a pretty busy area, especially around the close of the Corn Festival. We hope somebody saw something.”
The teen was attacked shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday as he walked home along Center Ridge Road from the Corn Festival grounds at Bainbridge and Avon-Belden roads, said his father, Jon Vincenzo, who said he was initially apprehensive about releasing his son’s name or any photos in the aftermath of the attack.
He later decided to do so after being contacted by Cleveland television stations about the incident, which was reported Tuesday in The Chronicle-Telegram.
As Nick reached the intersection of Center Ridge and Ridge Plaza, a gold-colored car containing five black males pulled up, the elder Vincenzo said.
Three males got out of the vehicle and asked the teen for his cell phone memory card.
The boy, a junior at Elyria Catholic High School, told his father he was then punched and knocked to the ground by the suspects, and repeatedly kicked in the head.
The attackers took $12 in cash, the teen’s iPhone, and most of his clothing, leaving him clad only in his underwear and socks.
Petek speculated Vincenzo’s attackers may have taken the youth’s clothing to prevent him from trying to follow them.
“They told him to stay where he was, but he got up and ran,” Petek said. “I don’t know what the motive was for that. Humiliation could have been a factor.”
Police are trying to determine a motive for the incident.
“We think they chose their victim at random and because he was by himself,” Petek said.
No weapon was observed or used in the attack, Petek said, adding, “This was a strong-arm robbery.”
Nick walked to a Center Ridge Road gas station where he was initially hassled by passers-by, but was eventually given a phone and a shirt.
The teen is recovering at home and faring well, according to his father.
Nick plays baseball at Elyria Catholic.
Police do not believe the suspects are from North Ridgeville as their victim did not know them, and “had familiarity with local kids,” Petek said, “and coupled with the fact some leads we’ve got through social media indicate they weren’t local.”
Petek stressed the attack occurred some distance from the Corn Festival grounds.
“We wanted to make that clear so it doesn’t distract people from coming to the festival,” Petek said. “We do not have any experience of this type of thing happening here, and we don’t want that to become commonplace.”
Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to call police at (440) 327-2191.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.