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Queens teen who punched woman down church steps ID’d by cop from past bust

The teen robber accused of punching a Queens grandmother down the steps of her church was arrested after he was recognized by an NYPD detective who had busted him for an earlier crime, NYPD officials said.

Once surveillance video of the shocking attack was recovered, the detective who had previously arrested the 16-year-old boy immediately recognized him even though he was wearing a hooded jacket and surgical mask, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.

That identification led police to the teen’s apartment building, where he was caught on surveillance camera wearing the same clothes he wore when he allegedly attacked Irene Tahliambouris, knocking her down a flight of stairs outside the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Briarwood on April 7.

The teen, whose name was not publicly disclosed because of his age, was savvy enough to block his face from a surveillance camera’s view as he approached his home, Kenny said.

“The kid’s a little bit sharp,” Kenny said. “He knows probably that there’s video (at his building). As he walks down the block, as soon as he hits his own block, he holds up a piece of paper covering his face.”

The teen couldn’t cover up the red hoodie under his black hoodie or his distinctive sneakers, which linked him directly to the mugging, Kenny said.

Cops arrested the teen April 11 and charged him with assault, robbery, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. He was ordered held without bail following an arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Monday.

Police said the teen has been arrested nine prior times as an adolescent offender. Eight of those arrests involved robberies.

He’s accused of creeping up behind Tahliambouris, 68, as she climbed the steps of the church to attend a Sunday service, punching her down the steps and then stealing her purse and car. The victim suffered a fractured skull and bleeding to her brain and was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

He was also charged for a separate robbery a few days before mugging Tahliambouris.

On Friday the boy wrapped his shirt around his neck and tried to choke himself while in custody at the 107th Precinct stationhouse, delaying his arraignment.

Despite his multiple arrests, the teen’s mother still defended the mugging suspect as “a good boy.”

“I love my son,” she said. “He’s in the 11th grade at Voyagers at August Martin High School. He goes to school, he goes to his program, he goes to counseling. He does everything he’s supposed to do.”


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