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Police: Man seen slapping teen on video arrested

Police: Man seen slapping teen on video arrested

Police credited tips from the public with leading officers to Joel Malek

ROTTERDAM - The search for a man shown on video slapping a 13-year-old boy inside a town gas station has ended with an arrest, police said.

Malek mug shot.jpg

Joel T. Malek, 38, of 2312 Turner Ave., Schenectady, faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and one count of violation harassment.

He was arraigned and released to return to court later. No attorney was listed for Malek later Friday.

Police credited tips from the public with leading officers to Malek. The department Thursday released surveillance video of a man slapping the youth inside the Burdeck Street Sunoco station. The incident happened Feb. 18 at about 5:45 p.m.

Officers had Malek's name as a possible suspect within hours of the video's release. Officers then found Malek's Facebook page, compared photos and determined Malek and the man in the video appeared similar, police spokesman Lt. Michael Brown said.

Officers went to Malek's residence twice Thursday evening, but no one answered the door. They returned Friday morning, Malek answered and police took him to the station, Brown said.

The video showed a man in a light, buttoned-down shirt entering the station, immediately directing words at two boys, one standing and one seated. The man soon turned toward the seated boy, raised his right hand and slapped him.

The boys told police the incident began nearby on West Campbell Road when a black sport utility vehicle traveling in the same direction swerved at them and almost hit them, according to police paperwork. They continued on and stopped at the Sunoco when the driver of the sport utility vehicle entered and confronted them. Police do not have Malek's account of the incident.

"We believe there was probably more to the story than what we have at this point," Brown said, "but, regardless of what happened, he went beyond what he should have done."

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