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Old 03-18-2010, 03:43 PM
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Default Man Punching Kids In Head with Key at Wal-Mart

Police Say Elderly Man Enjoyed Striking Young Kids

(March 16) -- Police in Ohio have filed additional charges against a grandfather who is accused of striking several young children inside a Columbus department store.

According to police, Ralph Conone, 68, would randomly strike young children in the head with a fist that was clasped around a protruding key.

"He stated that he does this because of the excitement of being able to do it and get away with it with the parents right there," Sgt. John Hurst of the special victim's bureau told The Columbus Dispatch. "He'll just strike them in the head and just turn around and walk away."

Conone was arrested March 10 following two alleged assaults that took place inside a Wal-Mart. Authorities were called to the store after a 6-year-old boy told his mother that Conone had struck him in the back of the head, leaving a minor cut. The boy's 7-year-old brother also reported being hit.

When police reviewed the store's surveillance videos, they were able not only to confirm the attack on the two children, but they also observed attacks on two other children, whom they were unable to identify.

When questioned about the incidents, Conone said he targeted young children because they were unable to defend themselves, police said.

Conone was arraigned in a Franklin County municipal courtroom last Friday on the two assault charges. During the brief proceeding, Conone's attorney said that he is a manic depressive with mental health issues.

Conone, who is divorced and lives alone, does not appear to have a prior criminal record.

The two additional charges that were filed Sunday involve a 2-year-old boy who was allegedly assaulted in two separate incidents, at the same Wal-mart, on Feb. 28.

Police believe Conone is responsible for several other assaults, dating back to January. As part of the ongoing investigation, they are not releasing his mug shot to the media.

Conone is being held on a $150,000 bond. The judge ordered him to be placed under house arrest if he posts bond. He was also ordered to stay away from Wal-Mart.
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