A real-life Grinch was allegedly caught in the act trying to steal Christmas — or at least the presents from under the tree — from a townhouse that is being rented by actor Robert De Niro on the Upper East Side on Monday.
Law enforcement sources shared the story with The New York Post, revealing that the alleged culprit, Shanice Aviles, 30, was well-known as a serial burglar — and that police had been actively tracking her when she allegedly broke into the townhouse.
The NYPD’s 19th Precinct Public Safety team had reportedly been monitoring Aviles, following her as she attempted to get into a number of other buildings before ducking down some stairs and breaking into De Niro’s residence, allegedly using a pipe or a crowbar to pry her way in through the basement door.
“She was stealing Christmas presents,” a police official said. The report notes that when the 19th Precinct officers caught up with her — on the second floor of De Niro’s $69,000-per-month rental home — she was attempting to do something with the actor’s iPad and the presents under his Christmas tree.
Aviles protested her innocence when authorities picked her up, insisting, “I didn’t murder anybody!”
Police caught a serial burglar stealing Christmas presents from inside Robert De Niro’s townhome in Manhattan early Monday morning, according to police sources. Shanice Aviles, 30, was arrested on burglary charges. pic.twitter.com/lzzLy4qpVV
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) December 20, 2022
She also suggested that her arrival in DeNiro’s house was purely coincidental, telling spectators, “I didn’t go into Robert De Niro’s house.”
Aviles’ arrest at De Niro’s home follows at least 16 other arrests this year alone — and is added to a lengthy rap sheet that includes at least 26 total arrests, the latest of which took place just a week prior to her arrival in De Niro’s townhouse.
She was arraigned on two burglaries that took place in Queens in October — she allegedly ransacked an apartment on October 1, stealing a debit card and using it to charge $50 at a nearby 7-11; and she also allegedly lifted $1000 in cash from St. Patrick’s Church in Dutch Kills just three weeks later. She was released without bail after her arraignment on those charges.
Her arraignment for the attempted burglary in the actor’s home went a bit differently, however, and Aviles is currently being held on $40,000 bail.
“She has repeatedly failed to take advantage of the rehabilitative services that enable her to detox and stay out of trouble and appear [for] court dates. The defendant demonstrated that she will not engage with services. She will not return to court and she will re-offend if she is released,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Dylan Los Huertos told the judge — and Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa Lewis agreed.