The son of Joe Paterno, Penn State’s football coach, was robbed by gun-toting youths who made him lie face down on Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Beach, said police who caught the five suspects.
“I was terrified, and I’m still terrified,” said Shari Critchley, 27, of Harrisburg, Pa.
She and Joseph (Jay) Paterno Jr., 22, were robbed about 2:15 a.m. on Monday while sitting on the beach, police said. One youth pointed a gun--police later found to be a pellet gun--at Paterno and forced him to lie on the sand, police said.
The youths took Paterno’s wallet, Critchley’s purse and a necklace she was wearing.
A police officer on surveillance against beach crime saw the incident, called for backup, and the youths were stopped after they drove off, police said. The victims’ stolen valuables were recovered, police said.
The youths--Richard Luerson, 18, Joseph Raul Valentin, 18, Juan Pablo Almonacid, 16, Burgos Hoover, 17, all of Sunrise, and Alex Ramirez, 18, of Lauderhill--were arrested on charges of robbery.
Paterno, who attends the University of Virginia, is in Ft. Lauderdale to watch his father’s Penn State team take on the Florida State Seminoles in the first Blockbuster Bowl on Friday night.
Neither he nor his father would discuss the robbery.
“He was calm. He was perfect,” Critchley said. “He was the one with a gun to his head.”