Police arrested a 53-year-old Delray Beach man and his 12-year-old son on felony charges Thursday after an 84-year-old man was punched, thrown to the ground and kicked in the groin in a Target parking lot confrontation caught on surveillance video.
Delray Beach police say the victim, Lawrence Blank, of Delray Beach, was loading items into the rear of his car Sunday when a silver Corvette with the tag QUIK SL started backing out on the opposite side of the parking aisle. The Corvette nearly struck Blank and his car, prompting a bystander to yell "Watch out," according to a probable cause statement filed by police.
Police say Blank asked the man why he almost hit him, after which the driver later identified as Barry Arthur Hochstadt, replied with "---- you!" Blank asked Hochstadt to move his car so he could leave, and Hochstadt reportedly replied with "Make me!"
Blank told police he walked toward the Corvette and pointed at Hochstadt saying "Move your damn vehicle!" and got the same response from Hochstadt. At this point police say the passenger, later identified as Hochstadt's 12-year-old, 92-pound, 5'2" son exited the Corvette wearing a Ravens jersey and threatened to "beat the ----" out of Blank if he said anything more to his father.
Blank told the boy to get back in the car, and Blank says the boy responded by shoving him into his car and onto the ground, standing over him and punching him repeatedly in the jaw. Hochstadt exited the Corvette and kicked Blank in the groin, Blank told police. At that point, the store's loss prevention officer arrived and helped Blank get up while Hochstadt and his son returned to the Corvette and left the scene.
Police said Blank had injuries to his shoulder, arm and hand and complained of back pain. He also had a large bruise on his inner thigh. In a later interview with police he said he was having difficulty moving his hands, which were black and blue.
Police tracked Hochstadt down first by tracing the credit card he used to pay for his Target purchase. When police arrived at his apartment on Northeast Fifth Avenue, they found a silver Corvette, but with different tags than the Target security guard had seen. The tags on the Corvette were registered to Hochstadt's fiancee, police said. While investigating the Corvette they saw a juvenile wearing a Ravens jersey waving what they later found was a toy gun.
Police spoke with the boy and his father on Thanksgiving Day, spotting the QUIK SL tag inside Hochstadt's apartment, and both described Blank as the aggressor. The boy said he lost his temper because Blank reached inside the Corvette and touched his father; he said only fought the man after Blank grabbed him by the throat and threatened to slap him.
Hochstadt, a New York native and salesman for an Atlanta business described by police as 5'6" and 240 pounds with a Corvette tattoo on his right shoulder, told police his only involvement was to diffuse the situation and that he never hit Blank. He said he didn't report the incident because he thought the man was uninjured and the confrontation was not important. When asked about the Corvette tags, Hochstadt said he switched them only because the QUIK SL tag was expired, not because he was hiding anything. Police determined the tag was valid through 2011 but not assigned to a vehicle.
Based on the statements of all three and the Target employee who witnessed the confrontation, plus the surveillance video, the father and son were arrested Thursday. Hochstadt remains lodged in Palm Beach County jail on felony charges of battery on a person older than 65, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and property damage for dents and scratches to Blank's 2011 Chevy Equinox.
His son, a student at a charter school in Anaheim, Calif., was arrested on felony charge of battery on a person older than 65 and criminal mischief and lodged in juvenile hall.
|Liveleak on Facebook|