Atlanta police say a petty criminal has embraced a violent streak and is back prowling the streets of Midtown in search of unknowing victims to sucker punch and cause serious injuries.
Curtis Bethea was arrested in January and charged with attacking a handful of people on the streets of Midtown. Police dubbed him the Midtown Puncher for his violent antics – approaching his victims from behind, striking them violently in the head and often knocking them to the ground.
Police nabbed him on Jan. 22 and Bethea remained in the Fulton County Jail for six months on charges of aggravated battery, battery with substantial physical harm and battery. But he was released July 22 for time served, according to jail records.
Six weeks later, Bethea was arrested again, this time charged with simple assault and battery with substantial physical harm. He received a suspended sentence and was released from jail on Oct. 28.
Now Atlanta police say he’s back hunting for victims on the streets of Midtown. Surveillance video from a bank shows that Bethea recently attacked a Grady High School student and nearly ripped off his right ear, police said. Via WSB:
The victim told Channel 2’s Liz Artz he had to get 27 stitches in all.
Conor Downey said his right ear was ripped on two sides, and when he went to call his father, he couldn't make out the numbers on the phone.
“The lady at the ear specialist said I had more stitches than the guy the week before who had his ear shot off,” Downey said.
Atlanta detectives say the bank surveillance footage helped them identify Curtis Bethea as the suspect.
UPDATE | Atlanta police now say Bethea is not their man – at least in this attack. He was already in jail on other charges when Downey was attacked.