Detectives from the 2nd Precinct as well as a state parole officer tracked down Calvin Battle, 52, Friday afternoon to question him.
Later Friday, investigators said they identified him as the suspect seen in security camera video from near the church.
Battle broke into St. Lucy’s on Thursday, punched and kicked Sister Obiama, and then stole a laptop computer and other equipment, police said.
Sister Obiama was briefly hospitalized, police said. She is originally from Nigeria and has been with this church for four years, according to NJ.com.
Police charged Battle with aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft, and criminal mischief.
He has nearly three dozen arrests and a dozen felony convictions for robbery, burglary, and theft-related offenses, Newark police said.