The son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was robbed by gun-toting youths who made him lie face down on Fort Lauderdale Beach, said police who caught the five suspects.
"I was terrified, and I'm still terrified," said Shari Critchley, 27, of Harrisburg, Pa.She and Joseph "Jay" Paterno Jr., 22, were robbed about 2:15 a.m. Monday while sitting on the beach, police said. One youth pointed a gun - police later found a pellet gun - at Paterno and forced him to down on the sand, police said.
The youths took Paterno's wallet, Critchley's purse and a necklace. A police officer on surveillance against beach crime saw the incident, called for backup, and the youths were stopped after they drove off in a car, police said. The victims' stolen valuables were recovered.
The youths - Richard Luerson, 18, Joseph Raul Valentin, 18, Juan Pablo Almonacid, 16, Burgos Hoover, 17, all of Sunrise, Fla., and Alex Ramirez, 18, of Lauderhill, Fla. - were arrested on charges of robbery.
Paterno, who attends the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., is in Fort Lauderdale to watch his father's Penn State team play Florida State in the Blockbuster Bowl on Friday night.