WPB Police Investigate Downtown Beating

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

A man was walking home to his downtown West Palm Beach condo when he was beaten, robbed and left for dead.

"I just want to get these animals. I really do," said Barbara Bacher, who flew to south Florida with her husband from Ohio when they learned of the attack.

Josh Bacher, 30,  was walking home after watching a college football game last Monday night January 4 with friends at Roxy's, a bar on Clematis Street.

He never made it home.

Instead, his mother says, sometime between 11 and 11:30pm, he was grabbed from behind, brutally punched and kicked and left unconscious behind a building at the corner of Quadrille Blvd. and Gardenia Street.   You can still see what appear to be blood stains on the wall from the incident.

They took his wallet, his coat, his cell phone, car keys, even his shoes and left him to die, she says, and he laid there for 12 hours until a passerby saw him and stopped to help.

"This is every parent's worst nightmare. You can't, you can't even begin to understand it," Bacher said.

Bacher, a day trader and college graduate, lives in a condo a high-rise building on Okeechobee Boulevard, right across the street from City Place.

His mother says it may look like a glamorous, safe area but the attack on her son should be a warning to everyone.

"And that's what I would really like to get out to any young people that live down here. It is not safe. Please don't walk anywhere by yourself. If you think it's safe, you have a false sense of security. It is not. It is not safe,"  Bacher said.

"We've seen a dramatic decline in crime in the downtown area. And that's not to minimize this one incident. This is a tragic incident that should not have occurred and obviously we try to do everything we can to protect our downtown.  We feel that our downtown is very safe," said Lt. Randy Maale of the West Palm Beach Police Department.

As for her son Josh, she says his eyes are swollen shut, he can't talk, the left side of his face is shattered, and he has severe pneumonia.

Doctors have removed part of his ear, she says because he was out in the cold so long he suffered frostbite.

"They are nothing but animals and I want them caught," said Bacher.

West Palm Beach Police say the number of robberies in the downtown area is down 64% since 2006.  "We have the forces in place that we believe are adequate to address any issues that might come up," said Lt. Maale.

They say they have some good leads, and are checking to see if any businesses in that area might have surveillance video that shows the attack.

Police say a $5000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Bacher is in critical condition in the intensive care unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.