Sherry Markwart, pre-owned lot manager for Walker Ford, greets Charles Clark and his wife Thursday afternoon as staff from the dealership returns the man’s car after making minor repairs and changing the locks.
PINELLAS PARK – An 84-year-old Pinellas Park man is recovering from his injuries, and the three teens that attacked him are in custody. Police arrested a fourth suspect Monday afternoon.
Thanks to the generosity of three local businesses, Charles Clark has new locks on his home and his vehicle.
Clark returned home from the store the morning of April 1 and parked on 76th Avenue. When he exited his vehicle, three teenage assailants attacked him from behind. He tried to fight off the attackers, knocking one to the ground. One pulled a knife and he was stabbed more than once in the arm.
A passerby saw the attack and ran to Clark’s aid. The unnamed Good Samaritan scared the teens away, and they fled the scene on bicycles. Area schools were placed on lockdown while Pinellas Park K-9 units searched the area with the assistance of PCSO air support. The teens were not found.
Clark was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. He told police he thought the teens were trying to steal his car, according to Sgt. Adam Geissenberger, Pinellas Park police public information officer.
That night, his car was stolen sometime between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. from in front of his home on 76th Avenue. Police recovered it that morning in south St. Petersburg. They also released videos of two of the suspects riding bicycles near crime scene and asked the public’s help to identify two black males and one Hispanic female.
Geissenberger announced later that afternoon that police had identified one of the three suspects. Police took Antonio Peterson, 16, into custody that evening. He was charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon.
His brother, Xavier Peterson, 13, approached Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies to turn himself in around 11:35 p.m. April 2. Under questioning by Pinellas Park police, he admitted to taking Clark’s car, but denied taking part in the attack. He was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle. The third suspect, Jazmine Burney, 15, was arrested April 3. No details of her arrest were made available.
Pinellas Park police announced Monday, April 7, that St. Petersburg Police Department Career Offender Unit had arrested Marquez Dunbar, 20, of St. Petersburg about 4:30 p.m. He was charged with violation of probation for carjacking and armed robbery. Dunbar was released from prison Nov. 11, 2013, after serving three years for two counts of carjacking and one count of resisting an officer with violence.
Help from local businesses
After hearing about Clark’s troubles, three Pinellas Park businesses stepped up to lend a hand, Geissenberger said. Renny Beatch from John’s Key Shop changed the locks at his home. Robert Yoho from YoHo’s towing transported his vehicle to Walker Ford. The dealership repainted the vehicle’s hood where it was damaged, replaced the locks and filled it with gas.
Pinellas Park PD posted the news and photos on its Facebook page where a number of people posted comments, including “It’s good to see that there are still some good people out there. I hope all three of those juvenile delinquents pay dearly.”
“My heart broke when I saw his face all bruised and battered … God bless you, Mr. Clark, praying for a speedy recovery for you.”
“Awesome work by all involved. What a great community to live in.”
“Terrible event, but what a wonderful outpouring by the community.”