16-Year-Old Purse Snatcher Charged With Assaulting 68-Year-Old Woman, Robbing Her

Jen Krausz
By Jen Krausz
April 14, 2024New York
16-Year-Old Purse Snatcher Charged With Assaulting 68-Year-Old Woman, Robbing Her
Police tape in a file photo. (Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images)

A 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged on Thursday with assault and several robbery charges after he punched and then shoved a 68-year-old woman down the steps of a church in Queens on Sunday morning and robbed her.

The boy, whose identity was not released because he is a minor, left Irene Tahliambouris lying on the ground after he took her purse, went through her pockets, and drove off in her 2006 Nissan Altima.

Surveillance footage captured the brutal attack at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Briarwood at 8:20 a.m., which left Ms. Tahliambouris in critical condition with a fractured skull.

The boy was charged with assault, grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.

Police said he has multiple felony arrests including for robbing other women. It was not clear why those arrests had not led to him being in custody prior to attacking Ms. Tahliambouris.

“A teenager who has had multiple felony arrests, robberies of women, and yet he is walking around the streets,” NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said on X, formerly Twitter, about the case.

A priest in the parish also spoke about the attack and how it has impacted other parishoners.

“To do this horrendous act of pushing her with force from the church’s steps, that’s unheard of, like to do that in a church,” Father Konstantinos Kalogridis said about the attack.

“She’s a parishioner of our church who was coming to church to attend the service in the morning,” he told the New York Post. “I was in the office during the service but when I saw the footage of what happened, it was horrible.”

Ms. Tahliambouris is now in stable condition and recovering from the attack. Father Kalogridis said he visited her once her condition had stabilized.

“She’s a regular parishioner,” he said. “She has a wonderful family … and she has her faith in the Lord and she’s a humble person that would give her very best to her family and her community.”

“I gave her a blessing and gave her communion and I prayed for her, and we’re hoping she’ll come out strong and have a full recovery,” he added. “And even [when] the nurses saw me visit her, they would say, ‘Oh, she’s so sweet! So nice!’”

Father Kalogridis said the area where the church sits typically has little or no crime, which made the attack even more shocking.

“[Parishioners] were shocked because we don’t have incidents like that here in this area of the neighborhood,” Father Kalogridis said. “There was fear, they were angry and sad for the woman as she went through this.”

He also said that police from the NYPD local 107th Precinct had increased patrols in the area as they looked for the attacker. It is the season of Orthodox Lent, which means more people may be attending services during the week.

A man who said he is a relative of the victim spoke out about the attack and expressed his outrage at police inaction on social media.

“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,” Daniel Coffaro Hill wrote.

“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,” he added. “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.”

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