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Homeless man beaten five times by group

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 23 2014 11:52:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 24 2014 04:47:39 PM CST

Police are turning to the public for help in identifying a man and a woman who they said were part of a group of people that repeatedly beat a homeless man as he tried to keep warm inside a laundromat.

READING, Pa. -

A brutal and bold assault was caught on camera inside a laundromat where a homeless man was beaten repeatedly for no reason at all, said police.

Reading police released surveillance video Friday in hopes someone can identify a man and woman who they said were part of a group of people behind the series of five attacks.

"This was totally senseless. This man was down on the ground sleeping when they approached him," said Sgt. John Solecki, Reading Police Dept.

The homeless man was suddenly and savagely attacked by four people again and again. The seemingly endless assault lasted for minutes inside the Penn Street Laundromat in the 900 block of Penn Street on Jan. 12, said police.

Officers were called to the area for disorderly patrons outside a bar and arrested a number of people wanted on unrelated warrants, police said.

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When they checked surveillance video in the area, police said they determined Ana Ferrer-Reyes and Keith Darnell Allison were part of a group that repeatedly went in and out of the laundromat and punched and kicked the victim.

"Cowards! I'm here every day, I live on this block and I wash my clothes in this laundromat," said Deave Stewart, who was outraged by the attack.

If repeatedly punching and kicking the 49-year-old victim wasn't bad enough, the brazen attackers picked up a laundry cart, a trash can and a hazard cone and viciously beat him even more, then stole his cell phone, the surveillance video showed.

"The gentleman received permission from the business owner that, on extremely cold nights, he would be able to go in there and seek shelter, and that's the reason he was in there," said Solecki. "He wasn't bothering anyone. He was just in the back corner sleeping when these individuals entered."

"Nobody wants to be homeless. Then they try to stay warm, minding their own business, and then you got what I call punks," said Timothy Grim, who lives in Reading.

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Police said they also found two other people -- a man, seen in surveillance video wearing a red baseball hat, and a woman, wearing a white and green hat and striped shirt -- joined in the series of attacks. They have not been identified.

"If you know them or know where they live or hang out, any information at all would be helpful to us," said Solecki.

Ferrer-Reyes and Allison have been committed to the Berks County Jail on charges of assault, robbery and related offenses.

The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries, but police had no information about his condition.

Police are asking anyone who may recognize the other two people involved in the attacks to contact them or Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.

A cash reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

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