An Ocala man who flagged down an Ocala Police officer and said several juvenile males were trying to steal his bicycle ended up being arrested for allegedly hitting one of the boys multiple times with a piece of wood.
William Underwood, 61, was charged with aggravated battery after the incident, which happened Monday afternoon. Underwood flagged down the officer in the 100 block of NW Martin Luther King Avenue and was holding a hollow metal pole that resembled a curtain rod, according to the OPD report.
Underwood pointed out two juvenile males near the corner of NW 1st Street and NW Martin Luther King Avenue and said they tried to steal his bicycle and hit him with sticks. He said he wasn’t injured and didn’t need medical attention, the report said.
The officer spoke to the boys and noticed one of them had blood on his left forearm and right ankle, as well as a scuff on his right knee. Both boys said they were walking down the street when Underwood, who was standing near a pile of furniture and various household items on the sidewalk, asked them to help him move the items across the street and offered to pay them a nickel, according to the report.
The boys said they declined and continued walking down the sidewalk when they heard something behind them. They turned around and saw Underwood running towards them with a wooden board. The boys started running away when one of them fell, allowing Underwood to catch up with him and strike him with the board, the report said.
The victim, who is 12 years old, complained of pain to his left forearm and said it felt like it was broken after being struck by the board. EMS was called and determined the victim suffered various scrapes and contusions but his arm did not appear to be broken, according to the report.
A witness who said he saw a portion of the incident said he saw Underwood strike the victim, who was on the ground, at least five times with the board. A 10-year-old boy who was with the other boys until Underwood started chasing them said he saw Underwood strike the victim five times, the report said.
The officer looked in the pile of furniture and household items and found a wood skateboard deck (without wheels) among the items. The victim and witnesses confirmed it was the board Underwood used to strike the victim, according to the report.
Underwood continued to claim the boys tried to steal his bicycle and attacked him with sticks. The three boys said they didn’t try to steal the bike or strike Underwood, the report said.
Underwood is being held in the Marion County Jail on $10,000 bond and will appear in Marion County Court on Oct. 22.