Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Teens were attackers, not victims, in Thun Trail assault, police say
By David Mekeel
Reading Eagle
- A homeless man accused of stabbing a teen on the Thun Trail was defending himself after an unprovoked attack by a group of teenagers, investigators said Monday.Edward M. Drake, 48, who was living along the Schuylkill River, had been arrested and charged with robbery and aggravated assault after the July 31 incident.Cumru Township detectives later determined the teens were lying when they said Drake had attacked them with a knife, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams said.Prosecutors withdrew all charges against Drake during a preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Nicholas M. Bentz Jr.Drake was released from Berks County Prison, where he was being held on $25,000 bail following his Aug. 3 arrest.Adams said authorities haven't decided whether to charge the teens with crimes.The incident unfolded about 7:30 p.m. July 31 when a teenager, whom police did not identify, told authorities he was riding his bike with friends when Drake jumped in front of him and demanded the bicycle.The youth said he was confronted on the footbridge over the Schuylkill River between Reading and West Reading.The teen said that when he refused to hand over his bike, Drake pulled out a knife and threw it, striking him near the hip.That's not true, Adams said.What actually happened was that the teens encountered Drake on the Thun Trail and decided to attack him, Adams said. The youths ganged up on Drake, kicking and punching him as they wrestled him to the ground.The teens fled, but one returned to retrieve a backpack he had left behind, Adams said.When Drake saw him coming, he feared he was going to be attacked again and threw a folding knife at the boy to try to scare him.The knife hit the boy, causing a minor wound, Adams said.Adams said it became clear something wasn't right with the original story when the teens began declining to cooperate with the investigation.Contact David Mekeel: 610-371-5014 or dmekeel [at] readingeagle.com.

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