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Ted Waddell | Democrat

JOSH APPLEY SHOWS off the scars on his head where surgeons put his shattered skull back together using titanium mesh.

Josh Appley recalls assault in Roscoe

By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE — March 14, 2008 — Three ambulance rides, three medical centers and at least seven hospital rooms later, the victim of a robbery and brutal attack by a couple of thugs is doing okay.
All things considered.
On Friday night, February 1, 22-year-old Josh Appley, a clerk at the Roscoe Wine and Liquor store, was savagely attacked by a couple of robbers when he surprised them taking cash out of the register.
The senseless attack by one of the robbers with a baseball bat left the young man critically injured with a shattered skull, and as word of the beating spread though the quiet streamside community called Trout Town U.S.A., its citizens were both appalled, fearful and up-in-arms.
The incident sparked an intensive investigation by the NYS Police, led by BCI senior investigator Michael Orrego of SP Liberty.
“The investigation is ongoing,” he said. “We welcome all tips, and any information will be kept confidential.”
In the days and weeks following the robbery, the state police conducted road checks and numerous interviews, and are currently processing several items of physical evidence for DNA and fingerprints.
On Monday, the Sullivan County Democrat interviewed Appley and his parents John Appley and Ginger Young in the kitchen of their cozy home high atop a mountain overlooking Cooks Falls and the Beaverkill. Appley talked about the attack, while his folks recalled a parents’ worst nightmare.
“There was an ice storm that night, and I turned on the scanner to listen to what’s going on,” said John Appley. “The channel locked on, and I heard Roscoe Wine and Liquor… send the ambulance down to the IGA. So we headed down the hill and [caught up] with the ambulance before it got to Harris.”
After the crooks ran off, Josh Appley got a good look at himself in the mirror and realized he was hurt much worse than he thought. Appley said he tried to activate the store’s alarm system, but when he tried to punch in “911”only “91” came up on the pad, and when he hit “cops” and then the panic button, nothing happened.
Realizing he needed help, the young man who had left home for his first job and an apartment in town, locked up the store, and covered in blood, walked a few doors down to the local supermarket where employees came to his aid. According to employees at the grocery store, Appley was helped by a woman who was at the Bank of America ATM, a local Good Samaritan.
His parents followed the ambulance to Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris where their son was stabilized in the emergency room before being transported to the trauma center at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
John Appley saw his son in the Westchester ER, and said of the shock of seeing Josh for the first time since the attack, “His whole head was laid right open. It was bad, the bone was spread apart. It was shattered so bad they couldn’t put in a plate.”
One of the robbers had hit Appley so hard with the bat that part of his skull was in essence pulverized to such an extent that surgeons used titanium mesh to bridge the gap. In time, bone is expected to re-grow over the mesh.
“I hope he lives,” John Appley said of his first thoughts upon seeing his son. “We didn’t talk to him for three days, they keep him under [sedation], and when he came to, it was pretty much thumbs up for ‘yes’ and thumbs down for ‘no.’”
After about a week in Westchester’s ICU and recovery, Appley had his third ambulance ride, this time for a week at the Helen Hayes Hospital’s rehabilitation center in West Haverstraw.
“It was totally unnecessary what they did, totally,” said Young of the robbers. “People like that should be put away and kept out of society, they’re dangerous.
“If the would have hit him a little bit harder, they probably would have killed him,” she added.
“What the community wants is to bring them down to Roscoe so they can have a public lynching. I just want them caught before they kill somebody… if they do something like this once, you know they’re going to do it again,” Young said.
Josh Appley attended his father’s high school alma mater (John Appley graduated Roscoe Central School in 1974) up until the 6th-7the grade, after which he was home schooled. He related the events of February 1.
“I was at work and decided to sit down for a few minutes and heard the thing above the door go off,” he said of the start of the robbery. “I heard that and got up. You can’t see the door from where I was sittin’, and pretty much by the time I got to the register I realized they were robbin’ the place. We were right there next to each other, and they started attacking me.”
As previously reported, once Appley was at the supermarket, according to a store employee, he wrote out three words “Black, bat, lock” on a scrap of paper because he was unable to talk, but during the interview he stated the word “black” could have referred to masks he recalled the robbers wearing, not necessarily their ethnicity.
“They had masks on, and they grabbed the cash box and ran out,” he said. “Originally I thought they were black, but they had mask… I’m not sure.”
But before fleeing with the money, the robbers attacked the young clerk. “They surprised me, I’m not used to somebody walking in and robbing me,” said Appley. “When I saw them, I walked up to the cash register because I thought they were customers, and they weren’t.
“I had two things working against me,” he added. “They had distance (the counter was between Appley and the robbers), I couldn’t have a fair fight even if I wanted to, and then we were fighting, the one guy started hitting me with a metal baseball bat. I hope they get jail time at least. They’re pretty stupid, the way they did it was just stupid.”
Last week, Caroline Appley, the victim’s grandmother, had a few words to say about the robbery and assault.
“I used to work in the liquor store myself, and my grandson took over after I left,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it, if they wanted the money, just go in and get it. But why did they have to beat this kid up, he didn’t deserve what he got. He’s got to be thankful he’s alive. It was his first job, first apartment… he was trying to get himself established.”
In addition to head injuries, Appley suffered fractured vertebrae, and will be in a back brace for several months. “I’m doing all right, but the brace is a real pain in the a—,” he said.
As Josh Appley began to heal in the hospital, according to his folks a sure sign that he was going to pull through was he had his eyes on the nurses.
“When a pretty nurse came in, we’d be watching the monitor, and his heart rate jumped about twenty points,” said the senior Appley. “We knew he was going to be all right then.”

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