Berks

Cyclist beaten, stabbed on Berks Co. trail

It's the third violent attack on Thun Trail in the last year.

Thun Trail Stabbing

READING, Pa. - Police are investigating the third violent attack in a year at a popular running trail in Berks County.

The latest attack happened just before midnight Saturday night. The victim spoke exclusively to 69 News.

Sean Rotkiske is battered and blue.

"I have a bruise on my lower lip," he said. "My back hurts a lot today."

Rotkiske's wounds tell the story. He said a group attacked and stabbed him Saturday night on the Thun Trail, popular with runners and cyclists.

Rotkiske and a friend were riding their bikes home from a birthday party in Reading, when they passed a large group of teenagers on a bridge to West Reading.

"When I got to the center of the group, that's the last thing I remember. Somebody struck me in my left ear," he said. "They jacked me up. They were trying to take my bike."

Four months ago, a man was murdered along the trail in Cumru Township, and last January -- just feet away from this weekend's attack -- a teen was shot after he and two others attacked a senior citizen.

The Berks Area Mountain Bikes Association says it now avoids the trail most times.

"We're changing times that we ride, routes that we take," said Bob Carson with the group. "It needs to be patrolled better. We need to take some sort of initiative, perhaps maybe we can get some cameras here that the police can monitor what's going on here."

Judy Lawes only runs there in the morning now, and avoids the area near Reading.

"It definitely makes me nervous if no one else is out," she said. "Sometimes I run with pepper spray or a cell phone."

Rotkiske said he won't be scared off.

"It's not going to stop me from riding on the trail. I'll be back," he said. "But I will be smarter. I will not let myself come that close to people that they can contact me physically."

Reading Police are still looking for the men who attacked Rotkiske.


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