Two teens are recovering after being robbed and beaten with fists and a baseball bat as they were walking through a Santa Ana residential neighborhood.
The boys, 15 and 16 years old, were crossing Wilshire Avenue in an area known as Wilshire Square when a car pulled up, and four young men jumped out to confront them, police said.
One was struck with fists and kicked, the other hit with a baseball bat shortly before 10 p.m. Dec. 30.
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"Oh, I started crying. It's so sad what they did. Thank God they're OK, but nobody deserves to get beat up in that way," the boys' grandmother said.
She spoke anonymously, worried that the men might strike again.
The mother of the teens returned to the scene of the crime the next day asking residents to check their security camera video. Now Santa Ana police are using that video to try to catch the suspects.
The victims had crossed Wilshire when a car went by, braked and four men jumped out. Santa Ana police said that after the men approached, they asked the teens if they were a part of a gang.
Then, the suspects split into pairs, cornering one teen in front of a fence and striking him there.
The two other attackers, including the one with the bat, caught up with the other teen down the block, knocked him down and went through his pockets.
The boys' grandmother said one of her grandsons actually blocked the baseball bat with his hand, and got hit on the elbow more than his face.
"My youngest got hit on the head and they have bruises on their arm," she said.
When the victim got up, he was attacked again before the assailants ran back to their car and drove off.
The teens are not affiliated with any gangs, their grandmother said.
"Obviously this is a problem for us," Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "People should be able to walk through their neighborhoods, especially our children, without fear of being physically assaulted or losing their property. Our hope is that somebody out there can identify any or all of these suspects and the vehicle that they used to commit these crimes."