SPRING VALLEY, NY — Three Hispanic day laborers were severely beaten early Wednesday by three black men during a robbery, leaving one in a drug-induced coma because of head injuries and his brother in serious condition.
The men were walking along the NJ Transit tracks about 5 a.m. near Commerce Street and North Myrtle Avenue when the men attacked, said Detective Sgt. James Noble of the village police.
One of the attackers wielded nunchucks, an illegal martial arts weapon of two sticks attached by a chain, Noble said. The other two likely used their fists, rocks and sticks as weapons.
“While the nunchucks could have caused most of the head injuries and damage to the men, all three suspects we are looking for took part in the attack and used other objects, aside from their fists,” Noble said.
All three victims — two brothers and a cousin — live in Spring Valley. They were walking along the railroad tracks near 60 Commerce St. The cousin, 29, was the least injured, with bruises and cuts to his face. He was able to talk with officers Wednesday afternoon, Noble said.
The 23-year-old brother was in a medical coma at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. His 36-year-old brother was in serious condition with head injuries, Noble said.
One of the brothers called 911 from a pay phone or possibly with a cellphone just after the attack from North Madison Avenue, having escaped the attackers, Noble said.
“He ran a good block,” Noble said.
He led the police to his comatose brother, who was lying on the ground near 60 Commerce St., Noble said.
The cousin was found hours later, Wednesday afternoon, and was able to provide more information on what occurred, Noble said.
The robbery continues a pattern of day laborers being attacked for their money in the village, which boasts a large population of people from Central and South America and Mexico. Many of them are in the country illegally.
The 2 1/2-square-mile village — where officials have estimated a population approaching 50,000 when including undocumented people — also has a large Caribbean population, and Jewish and black communities.
Noble said the attack does not appear racially or ethnically motivated. The three victims were likely targeted for their money, he said.
“Our local criminal element is aware that day laborers carry their entire paychecks with them,” Noble said. “These guys appeared to have been drinking and walking along an isolated area. The attackers took advantage.”
Noble said the police and village leaders have tried over the years to get the word out to day laborers and their advocates that carrying cash can be dangerous, and the practice make them targets of street thugs.
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