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Paramus police: Greek tourist lied about being shot at mall

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A 23-year-old tourist from Greece shot in the chest with a small-caliber bullet lied when she said it happened outside the Garden State Plaza on New Year’s Eve, Paramus police said this afternoon.

Maria-Eleni Eleftheriadou, of Haravi Corfu, was struck by a small-caliber bullet but not in the mall parking lot, Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.

“Detectives worked throughout New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses,” Ehrenberg said. “Numerous inconsistencies began to develop in the case between the report and the evidence collected.”

Today, detectives returned to the Ridgefield home of her friend, George Mihalakis, who told them that Eleftheriadou and her fiancé caught an overnight flight to Greece. U.S. Customs officials confirmed their departure, the chief said.

Mihalakis, 35, was charged and released without bail pending a court hearing on charges of filing a false police report.

Similar charges await Eleftheriadou and her fiancé if and when they return to the U.S., Ehrenberg said.

“Detectives are continuing to investigate who was responsible for the shooting and where the incident actually occurred,” the chief said.

He asked that anyone  with additional information in the case call his department: (201) 262-3400 ext. 553

Eleftheriadou and the two men all told police that they were walking east towards Route 17 between Legal Seafood and Macy’s when she was felt a sting in the chest.  All three then drove off, they said.

A short time later, Eleftheriadou told police, she noticed a small wound, so the others drove her to the hospital for treatment.

Officers searched the lot and surrounding area and spoke with several people “with negative results,” Ehrenberg said.

They returned yesterday to view surveillance video from several locations, with the same outcome, he said.

The woman, meanwhile, was kept overnight for observation and was released early this afternoon,. the chief said.

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