The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a juvenile in connection with two random attacks reported in Lee County.
On Tuesday around 3:50 p.m., deputies responded to a report of a group of people who randomly attacked an unsuspecting victim in the area of South Pointe Boulevard.
“I was in shock. Who would expect anything from out of the blue to happen like that. There’s no reason had I done something or said something,” said the 72-year-old Fort Myers victim.
The victim stated that while he was weeding his garden, someone kicked him from behind, knocking him to the ground. The victim says he saw a teenage girl laughing at him before she walked back to join a larger group of teens.
“I didn’t hear anything. There was nobody in the area at all. It was very quiet [when] all of a sudden I felt a blow to my hip and I was on the ground. I turned around to see what happened and there was a girl standing there laughing,” he said.
Concerned citizens saw a group of suspicious teenagers walking down a nearby street and took several photographs with their cell phone, providing investigators with what would later be a crucial piece of evidence.
The investigation into the first incident continued and on Tuesday, a second victim contacted the sheriff’s office.
Harry Hurvitz, 89, told deputies that someone rang his doorbell, and he looked and saw several well-dressed teens standing outside his door and one of them appeared to be holding a cell phone or camera.
When he opened the door, one of the juveniles suddenly and without provocation slapped him in the face.
“I stepped out to see what she was pointing to and there was another girl standing here and wammmmmm,” explained Hurvitz.
The entire group then fled, laughing as they ran toward Principia Drive.
Hurvitz says he doesn’t want the teen behind bars, saying she needs treatment instead.
He adds he’s glad it was him and not someone else.
“There are lots of old ladies here who have guns and revolvers in their possesion and will not open the door unless they are fully armed,” he said. “And they will just let loose.”
Due to the age of the victims and the random, unprovoked nature of the attacks, the Major Crimes Unit began to investigate. With the assistance of the Youth Services Division, all of the teenagers captured in the witnesses’ cell phone pictures were quickly identified, including the suspect.
After being interviewed by detectives, the suspect admitted to both random attacks, which were witnessed by other teenagers.
At Blanks’ first appearance, a judge ordered her to spend 21 days in secure detention. Blanks can have no contact with the victims or co-defendants. Blanks’ family was in court but declined to comment on the incidents.
Her next court appearance is December 19th.
What’s all the hype?
We talked to students from nearby Cypress Lake High School who didn’t seem to think the teens did anything wrong.
“I’m not gonna say it’s not right and it’s not fun, because it is fun,” said a teen familiar with the game.
In many cases across the country, teens are recording the punches and kicks on their cell phones then posting them online. The attacks are often impossible to predict and prevent.
“What’s not fun about it? Just go up to a random person, slap them and run away,” said another teen.
This story also has personal ties to Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott. Last October, his daughter was sucker-punched on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. The man who did it was caught and found guilty.