A SAN Remo teenager has bravely fended off armed and masked attackers in an effort to save himself and his little brother.
Pete Booth, 14, was walking home from the IGA supermarket on Marine Parade with Jesse, 11, at around 7pm last Tuesday night (Tuesday) when a man wearing a balaclava “jumped from behind a wall” and demanded money.
Frightened and shocked, Pete had dropped his skateboard to the ground.
“I picked up my skateboard and (the man) took a step towards me,” he said.
“I felt that was threatening so I whacked him in the head with my board.
“I didn’t think about it; it was just pure instinct.
“I shouted at my brother to run because I saw another guy approaching him.”
The ordeal became all the more terrifying for the teens when others involved in the ambush, sitting in a vehicle nearby, allegedly attempted to run the boys over.
The victims said Jesse was clipped by the car and knocked to the ground, sustaining a few scrapes, before he got to his feet and ran for safety to a nearby hairdressing salon, which was open for a late appointment.
Pete said he then sprinted to his home on Back Beach Road, only a short distance from where the ambush took place, to alert his mother.
By the time he returned, the attackers had fled in a vehicle.
The random attack has left the boys’ family, and the San Remo community, shaken.
Bass Coast Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) Detective Senior Constable Liza Burrows confirmed two men – a 19 year-old from Seaford and a 16 year-old from Carrum – had been arrested over the incident.
Both have been charged and bailed, with a condition of bail being that they do not return to Bass Coast.
She said the attack on the teenagers was just one part of a drug and alcohol-fuelled rampage involving five males, all believed to be aged in their late teens, who stole a car from Bonbeach earlier in the day.
The group were responsible for two hit-and-run incidents on Phillip Island, leaving two vehicles damaged, before threatening another person in San Remo with a knife and then approaching the young boys.
Det Burrows said the group ditched the stolen vehicle on Potters Hill Road, close to Silverwater Resort, after a tyre had become damaged.
She said police caught and arrested two of the males around the resort car park at 9.30pm, while three others fled on foot.
“We have good leads on who the outstanding offenders are and we believe they have returned to the Melbourne area,” Det Burrows said.
The boys’ mother, Michelle Booth, was in a state of shock the morning after the incident, not just because her sons were victims of the random attack, but because it happened in the quiet seaside town at all.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening here,” she said.
“The kids have enjoyed an enormous amount of comfort and safety since we moved here about 18 months ago.
“The boys often walk across the bridge to skate and you never have to worry about them.
“They have rules, of course, including that they have to be home before dark.
“(Tuesday) night was a special occasion because we’d had some people over for dinner and Jesse wanted some soft drink.
“I told him that Pete had to go with him, and thank God he did.”
Pete said he was just glad his brother made it through the ordeal unharmed.
“When I was running back to get Mum I didn’t know what might have happened to him,” he said.
“I thought they might have gotten to Jesse and sped off in the car with him, so I was panicking.
“I was really relieved to see he was alright.”