|Accused Rapist Gets Stun Gun Past JFK Security|
|By LAUREN EFFRON (@LEffronG)||Mar 14, 2013, 12:09 PM|
An accused rapist who was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport as he was about to board a plane for London was found to have a powerful stun gun in his carry-on luggage which he somehow got past airport security, officials said today.
Prodromos Vasilopoulos, 23, had allegedly used the weapon to subdue and rape his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend on Tuesday, the Queens County district attorney said. He was arrested at JFK airport Wednesday.
Vasilopoulos, who is from Greece, was waiting for his flight to London, when Port Authority police and Customs agents took him into custody at the request of New York City's special victims unit.
"During the course of conducting an inventory of the suspect's bags while at the gate, PAPD officers discovered a weapon that may have been used in the commission of the alleged crimes," the Port Authority police said in a statement.
It was described as a powerful 3,800-watt stun gun, ABC News' affiliate WABC reported.
When asked how Vasilopoulos was able to get through the Transportation Safety Administration's security checkpoint at JFK with the weapon, a TSA spokeswoman said in a statement to ABC News that the "TSA takes this incident seriously and will carefully review the details."
Stun guns are prohibited from being in carry-on luggage, but can be put into checked baggage.
Police are investigating whether the suspect used the weapon in an attack on his former girlfriend at her apartment in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, authorities said.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, according to the charges, that shortly after the alleged female victim received a UPS package, she heard a knock on the door and someone said, "Wrong delivery."
When the woman opened the door, Vasilopoulos allegedly shocked her with the stun gun in the stomach. When the alleged victim started screaming, the district attorney said Vasilopoulos "shoved his fingers into her mouth to muffle the sounds" and she fell to the floor, where he used the stun gun on her again.
Vasilopoulos then allegedly brought the victim to her bedroom, where Brown said he beat her and tried to strangle her before sexually assaulting her several times.
The alleged victim later went to a Queens hospital where a sexual assault kit was prepared and she was treated for multiple injuries. She told police that Vasilopoulos was going home to Greece, and detectives checked with airports and found that he was due to leave for London on a Virgin Atlantic flight, the DA's office said. The flight had a connection to Greece.
Vasilopoulos was arraigned today in Queens Criminal Court on a series of charges that included predatory sexual assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He was also charged with harassment for allegedly threatening that the woman "would pay for breaking up with him," according to Brown.
If convicted, Vasilopoulos could face up to 25 years to life in prison. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court on March 25, 2013.