16-year-old with long police record arrested for attacking woman on steps of NYC church

Irene Tahliambouris, 68, and the 16-year-old suspect (inset) who attacked her on the steps of the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Briarwood, New York, robbed her of her belongings then fled in her car on April 7, 2024.
Irene Tahliambouris, 68, and the 16-year-old suspect (inset) who attacked her on the steps of the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Briarwood, New York, robbed her of her belongings then fled in her car on April 7, 2024. | GoFundMe; NYPD

Detectives with the New York City Police Department have arrested and charged a 16-year-old boy in connection with a brutal assault and robbery of a 68-year-old woman on the steps of St. Demetrios’ Greek Orthodox Church in Jamaica, New York, on Sunday which left her critically injured.

While the suspect’s name has not been released because of his age, the NYPD announced that he was  arrested and charged with assault, robbery, grand larceny and possession of stolen property, NBC New York reported.

The victim who has been identified as Irene Tahliambouris, was on her way to worship at St. Demetrios’ Greek Orthodox Church when she was attacked around 8:20 a.m. just steps from the church’s door. Surveillance video shows Tahliambouris getting punched by her attacker then falling down a flight of stairs.

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Tahliambouris’ purse which had $300, a cell phone as well as her car keys was allegedly taken by the suspect who fled in her car.

Reacting to the arrest Thursday, Daniel Coffaro Hill, communications director of the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol and aunt of the victim applauded the arrest of the suspect he called a “lowlife” and a “thug.” He also worried about how the state and city’s legal system would hold him accountable.

“This lowlife is off our streets for now, and we are hoping the system will actually do its job this time. We’re tired of seeing criminals walk free because of our soft on crime laws,” Hill said in a statement on X. “This thug is another example of how petty criminals feel bold enough to escalate their crimes, knowing they’ll likely get off with a slap on the wrist. Despite this, there seems to be a lack of urgency from both Albany and NYC to implement the necessary legal reforms to ensure these individuals are held accountable.”

Kaz Daughtry, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of operations called the attack on Tahliambouris “cowardly” while praising the arrest and calling for prayers for the victim.

“72 hours after this cowardly attack in front of a church, this violent criminal is where he belongs, in handcuffs. But this isn’t a time for kudos, this is still a time for prayers. Ma’am the entire NYPD and this city are praying for your speedy recovery, that’s what matters most,” he wrote on X.

John Chell, the NYPD’s chief of patrol, agreed with Daughtry in a statement of his own on X while noting that the 16-year-old suspect has previously been arrested multiple times for robbery yet was allowed to roam free on the streets.

“Agreed, no kudos on this, just prayers, answers, and needed reforms. All of NYC prays for Irene’s recovery and her family’s peace,” Chell noted.

“We are all citizens of this great city who want our friends, neighbors, and family to be safe. Absolutely shocking that this heinous crime was committed by a 16 year old! A teenager who has had multiple felony arrests, robberies of women and yet he is walking around the streets,” Chell added.

“Obviously, he needs help! Irene represents all of our moms, grandmothers, and everything else. Why is this happening? This was avoidable! What part of the process broke down and allowed this to happen???? More to come on this, trust me. To all the stakeholders, now is the time, enough already!!!! Keep fighting Irene we are all praying for your speedy recovery …. NYC and the NYPD family has you now.”

In a statement from Tahliambouris’ family shared by Hill on X Thursday, they said she is still “fighting for her life” at the hospital with a “fractured skull and a black eye.”

“She suffered a fractured skull and a black eye and is currently in the hospital, fighting for her life. Her condition is stable, and she is showing signs of recognition, giving us hope,” they said.

“Irene is a loving woman who has always been there to help anyone in need, always happy and in good spirits. We are devastated to even imagine the pain she is experiencing after being knocked off the stairs of the church, hitting the back of her head on the concrete while this vicious person, with no consideration for life, attacked her and took all her belongings and her car,” the statement said before also criticizing the state’s laws on crime.

“Criminals feel comfortable doing things to helpless people because the laws in our state do not hold them accountable. The recidivism rate of criminal felonies is high, yet the state refuses to change laws to remand them to jail or charge them to the fullest extent of the law. We are seeing an increase in petty crimes that are no longer prosecutable, and those people are going on to commit violent crimes, yet Albany and NYC refuse to make the necessary changes to the law to ensure these criminals are held accountable,” the family argued.

“We know that the District Attorney and the NYPD are giving this case the attention it deserves. We trust that they will take all necessary actions to bring the perpetrator to justice and uphold the safety of our community.”

A GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $150,000 to help with Tahliambouris’ recovery was recently launched by her son, Freddy.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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