20 teens arrested after Philly rampage

April 5, 2009 4:05:58 PM PDT
Nearly two dozen juveniles are facing charges of assault and robbery after a rampage in Northeast Philadelphia overnight.Police say the teenagers started at the Jamz skating rink.

They then allegedly left the rink and began knocking on doors along the 6700 block of Roosevelt Boulevard around midnight.

Bill Allen says it was around midnight when he heard a bang at his door. When he answered it, he says he was sucker-punched by a kid not more than 13 years old.

"I heard a huge bang. I walked up the cellar steps, and as I walked up there was the kid again and he went 'Boom!', Allen said, mimicking the punch.

A number of 911 calls came in, with people reporting a large group of young men walking down the street with baseball bats.

Allen says they weren't bats, but pieces of tree branches. He says his son's friends ran from the house to chase the offenders, but they were outnumbered. Before long, there was a melee on the Boulevard.

During the fight, one teen says he was robbed.

"They threw me on the ground. We were fighting and everything and the just took everything out of my pockets," said Paul Szalejko, who added the attackers took $50.

20 juveniles were arrested and taken to the 15th police district where their parents began arriving during the overnight hours.

Action News spoke to Jaclyn Cosden, one of the people who called 911 upon hearing the commotion outside.

"There was about 30 kids, and I guess my neighbors and their kids, in the middle of the Boulevard. There was traffic stopped and everything. There was three kids trying to beat up one girl," said Cosden.

Police held the teens for several hours, charging them with robbery.

Residents say they hope there is a police presence along the Boulevard next Saturday night when the skating rink lets out.

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