PINELLAS PARK — Even after his wounds were bandaged, 83-year-old Charles Clark figured his attackers would come back for his car.
"I said all the time, 'They're going to steal my car,' " Clark said.
About 10 a.m. Tuesday, three teens jumped him as he returned to his Pinellas Park condo from a pharmacy. One grabbed him from behind and another slashed at his arm with a knife.
"I started hollering and I started hitting them and they kept hitting me and hitting me and hitting me," Clark said.
Clark lost his keys in the fray. His sister-in-law and great niece heard his screams and chased off the attackers.
He was taken to Northside Hospital and released several hours later, but awoke early Wednesday to find that his car was gone.
Police recovered the Ford sedan parked on 13th Street S in St. Petersburg. Late Wednesday afternoon, they identified the suspects as a 16-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy. Police said they had the 16-year-old in custody Wednesday evening, but did not say what charges he might face. The other boy and the girl remained at large.
Pinellas Park police spokesman Sgt. Adam Geissenberger said police patrolled the area around Clark's home after the attack, but "didn't dedicate a resource to watching the car."
Clark said he thinks the teens who attacked him returned. Four abandoned bicycles were found near his home.
Clark was resting at home Wednesday, his left arm tightly bandaged to cover three wounds. His right cheekbone is broken, his left eye is blackened, and both cheeks and his right arm have developed deep pockets of purple bruising.
"If they can find them, they ought to go to jail," he said.
Clark and his wife, Kathleen, 70, have lived in the Park Plaza complex, 5060 76th Avenue N, for 13 years.
Their son lives on the floor above. They are surrounded by two schools: Pinellas Park Elementary to the west and Richard L. Sanders School to the north.
Kathleen Clark said she always felt safe walking outside at night but will reconsider doing so after the two incidents.
"It's awful," she said.
Clark is sore but knows it could have been worse.
"If I hadn't started hitting him, he probably would have killed me," he said as his wife gently adjusted his glasses.
Someone was coming to install new home locks free of charge, and police were helping them replace their stolen car keys.
Claire Wiseman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.