This is what goes on in the town i live in. i cannot fathom why kids would think this is a fun thing to do. 5 charged in 'bum hunting' Published in the Ocean County Observer 10/28/04 Cops: North students attacked homeless By MATT PORIO Staff Writer TOMS RIVER -- They called it "bum hunting." And now five Toms River Regional High School North students have been charged in connection with the brutal assaults -- using baseball bats, bricks, golf clubs and pipes -- of four area homeless people in different locations throughout Dover Township, police said yesterday. After an investigation dating back to June, police on Tuesday charged 18-year-old Frank Novak, 915 Bowling Green Drive, with aggravated assault, an offense that could land him in prison for 15 to 30 years, police said. ADVERTISEMENT He was released on $50,000 bail, police said. Additionally, two 17-year-old males were charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, while another two 17-year-old males were charged with aggravated assault and criminal mischief. Police said one of those 17-year-olds is three months shy of his 18th birthday, and it will be up to prosecutors to determine if he is charged as an adult. Two of the 17-year-olds have been released to their parents, police said, while the other two were being held at the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center. Police Chief Michael Mastronardy would not release the names of the juveniles, citing state law. Mastronardy described four attacks on different homeless people in Dover Township since June. The suspects, he said, "had to search (the victims) out." The most recent victim, a 50-year-old male, sustained broken ribs, a punctured lung and a fractured arm after, he told police, he was attacked with pipes and baseball bats while sleeping in his tent on Friday in the woods near Route 37 and Bananier Drive, Mastronardy said at a press conference yesterday. Dover Township Police EMS took the victim to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where he was treated and released. In another incident, on Oct. 10, a 42-year-old homeless woman told police she was hit twice in the head with thrown bricks while sleeping in her tent near the power lines off Route 37 and the Garden State Parkway. She sustained a number of cuts to the head, she told police, and was treated at Community Medical Center. Additionally, a 44-year-old homeless male, who lived in a wooded area near Route 37 and Route 166, reported that he was attacked outside his tent with golf clubs and fists on the night of June 28. Police said he was treated at Community Medical Center for injuries to his face, arms and shoulders. While investigating the assaults, Dover Township police interviewed another homeless man who said he managed to flee from an attack in the woods near Route 37 and Bananier Drive on Oct. 13. The 42-year-old man said someone was throwing things at his tent, when he came out and was confronted by several individuals, who tried to attack him with a baseball bat. He fled into the woods, but returned later to find his tent destroyed, police said. Suspect Frank Novak's father, Richard Novak, said over the phone last night that his son "Just went with the wrong kids." Frank Novak could not be reached for comment. Police made the arrests after Dover Township Police School Resource Officer Kevin Scully, who is assigned to High School North, developed information that several students at the school were going out "bum hunting." With lead detectives Randy Petrick and Raymond Maloney using the information provided by Scully and the victims, the subjects were identified by Dover Township police and taken into custody without incident on Tuesday. The Ocean County Sheriff's Office's Criminalistic Unit assisted, as well. Mastronardy also credited the school system and Toms River Regional Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco with providing assistance in investigating the assaults. Ritacco called the allegations "difficult to believe." "I think everyone that has heard about this incident is shocked about the fact that someone would do this," he said. Anyone with any information regarding the incidents is asked to contact Det. Randy Petrick at (732) 349-0150, ext. 7252.