A Queens man was charged on Thursday with beating up a 78-year-old man and robbing him as he was trying to buy cigarettes at a newsstand, prosecutors said.
The man, 38-year-old Charles Piccolo, allegedly approached the older man from behind and grabbed him just after he had paid the man at the newsstand in Astoria at about 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday. The victim had pulled out more than $400 and handed the clerk $20.
Piccolo was caught on surveillance video swinging the man to the ground, causing him to hit his head and lose consciousness, prosecutors said. Piccolo then allegedly grabbed the cash and ran.
The victim was hospitalized and received five staples to his head.
Piccolo allegedly had a gravity knife in his pants pocket when he was arrested. He was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He was awaiting arraignment on Thursday and could not be reached for comment. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.