16-year-old suspect in violent church mugging in Queens arrested 9 other times

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, April 13, 2024
16-year-old suspect in violent church mugging in Queens arrested 9 other times
Chantee Lans has more on the suspect in a violent church mugging in Queens.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- The 16-year-old suspect caught on video shoving a senior down the stairs of her church in Queens during a violent mugging is now being charged with robbing and assaulting her.

The teen was taken to the hospital after he took off his shirt off in the precinct holding cell and wrapped it around his neck. Police say he was taken to the hospital for evaluation, and once he is released, he will be arraigned.

Despite being arraigned as an adult, the Queens District Attorneys Office says they will not be identifying the 16-year-old because of his age.

He has been arrested nine times in Queens as an adolescent offender since August 2023. Eight of those arrests involved robberies and the ninth was criminal possession of stolen property.

The teen was arrested Thursday on charges including robbery, assault, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The attack happened Sunday morning outside St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Jamaica Hills. The victim, a 68-year-old mother of two named Irene Tahliambouris, was heading to service when she was attacked.

Surveillance video shows the attacker run in front of the victim, as she walks up the steps to the church entrance, and violently shove her, sending her falling backwards. She suffered a fractured skull and black eye, but she is stable in the ICU.

After the assault, the suspect grabbed Tahliambouris' purse with her car keys and cellphone inside.

He also allegedly stole her 2006 Nissan Altima, which police recovered overnight on Tuesday, approximately 3.5 miles away from the church. Police were able to pull a fingerprint from the recovered car.

The victim's family posted on social media, saying in part: "criminals feel comfortable doing things to helpless people because the laws in our state do not hold them accountable."

Father Konstantions Kalogridis says he and the parishioners at the church are relieved that a suspect is in custody.

"There were no words to express you know, the shock and the surprise to see one of my parishioners, a simple, humble lady going to church," he said. "She was almost ready to open the door of the church."

Harry Panagiotopoulos says the attack rattled the entire Greek community in Queens. He says it's the lack of action following brutal crimes that continues to put communities in danger.

"We have Greek Easter coming up as well. It's on the 5th of May, my grandmother doesn't want to go to church and I'm sure many grandmothers don't want to go to church, they're afraid to go to church, what a shame," Panagiotopoulos said.

One parishioner had a plea for Mayor Eric Adams.

"There's too many young kids going through the court system and it shouldn't be that way. Please do everything you can to change the New York City Board of Education and bring back art, music education and sports," said Helen Mary.

The victim's family said she is doing much better. She is still in the hospital but can now recognize people and speak and they hope she will be able to go home soon.

The teen is being investigated in other neighborhood crimes, including an attempted robbery of an elderly person. In addition to the church attack, he is being charged with an unrelated incident three days earlier where he allegedly stole another woman's car.

ALSO READ | Robbery victim speaks out as NYPD investigates bigger crime spree: 'I thought I was going to die'

Anthony Carlo has the story in Washington Heights on the robberies.


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