Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 24, 2013

Police investigate Thompsonville mugging

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — THOMPSONVILLE — Richard Crow played dead the night he was badly beaten.

The Thompsonville resident had been drinking at a bar the eve of Aug. 9. He left the bar around midnight and on the walk home, he approached a bonfire and a group of people at a residence near his North Street house. It’s his last clear memory of the events leading up to his mugging — the next thing he knew, he was on the ground with an unknown assailant or assailants rolling him over to steal his wallet, belt and cell phone.

“I had to play dead,” he said. “They were checking (my) pulse and checking my breath with a beer bottle ... I kept holding my breath as long as I could.”

Crow believes playing dead saved his life. Two weeks after the attack, he still doesn’t know who broke his nose or cracked his eye socket and he wants answers from Benzie County sheriff’s deputies investigating the incident.

“I guess the wheels of justice move slow,” he said.

Deputy Kyle Rosa believes one or two assailants committed the aggravated assault, but no suspects have been identified because witnesses at the bonfire have so far been unwilling to talk. Crow suspects the assailants were visiting the area from out of town. GPS on Crow’s stolen phone may indicate the suspect or suspects traveled far and wide — it went from Thompsonville to Wellston and then all the way to Broadway in New York City.

Rosa said the only witness is a friend of Crow’s who told authorities he left the bonfire before the attack took place.

“He heard some arguing and some ladies yelling at Mr. Crow, but it wasn’t significant enough for the witness to go back and see what was going on,” he said.

Rosa said the same witness later found Crow laying in the street, dragged him to some bushes behind a garage but for some reason did not call authorities. Crow said he woke up in the bushes with his eye swollen shut and walked back to the bar where the bar owner called an ambulance.

“That’s pretty much all I remember until I (got) to the hospital,” he said.

Rosa said aggravated assaults like the one Crow suffered are not common in Thompsonville. He said members of the public with information on the attack should call the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department at 882-7263.