Serial burglar shrugs off attempt to steal Robert De Niro’s Christmas presents


‘I didn’t murder anybody!’ Serial burglar, 30, who broke into Robert De Niro’s Upper East Side home smiles as she’s handcuffed during perp walk – after snatching his presents from under his Christmas tree

  • Shanice Aviles, 30, shouted as she was accused of breaking into De Niro’s house
  • ‘I didn’t go to Robert De Niro’s house,’ Aviles said, ‘I didn’t murder anybody!’
  • Aviles was followed into De Niro’s Upper East Side townhouse at 3am on Monday
  • She is a chronic burglar and has been arrested 26 times – 15 times this year alone
  • De Niro, 79, came downstairs in a bathrobe as officers were arresting Aviles 

A serial burglar allegedly caught stealing Christmas presents from Robert De Niro’s townhouse in the Upper East Side smiled as she was led from a nearby police station in cuffs.

‘I didn’t go to Robert De Niro’s house,’ Shanice Aviles, 30, shouted to reporters as she was escorted from the 19th Precinct station house on Monday evening, adding, ‘I didn’t murder anybody!’ the New York Post reported.

Aviles was arrested for breaking into 79-year-old De Niro’s home in the early hours of Monday morning and attempting to steal presents from beneath his Christmas tree.

She was being followed by NYPD officers at approximately 3am this morning when she broke into De Niro’s seven-bedroom, East 65th Street townhouse.

Shanice Aviles smiled as she was led from a nearby police station in cuffs after being caught in actor Robert De Niro's house

Shanice Aviles smiled as she was led from a nearby police station in cuffs after being caught in actor Robert De Niro’s house

Aviles yelled 'at least I didn't stab anybody!' as she was led out of the police station

Aviles yelled ‘at least I didn’t stab anybody!’ as she was led out of the police station 

When police arrived they found her trying to place gifts into a bag and playing around on the actor’s iPad. 

She was already wanted for a string of other burglaries, and has been arrested 26 times before, including 15 times just this year.

According to CBS New York she was arrested most recently on December 13 and around a month earlier when she stole $700 from a Catholic Church in Astoria.

There was an open warrant on Aviles after she skipped a court-ordered drug rehab last week. 

She was caught because police were following her in the early hours of the morning and watched her make numerous attempts to enter commercial buildings in the area.

According to police she was seen trying a few doors before she slipped away around a corner. By the time the officers caught up with her they noticed a door to a townhouse was open.

79 year-old Robert De Niro (pictured in September) awoke to police confronting serial burglar Shanice Aviles in his living room at 3am this morning

79 year-old Robert De Niro (pictured in September) awoke to police confronting serial burglar Shanice Aviles in his living room at 3am this morning

De Niro's seven-bedroom townhouse on the Upper East Side. He awoke to the commotion of cops confronting the burglar downstairs

De Niro’s seven-bedroom townhouse on the Upper East Side. He awoke to the commotion of cops confronting the burglar downstairs 

De Niro was asleep in one of the homes seven bedrooms (above) when the burglar forced her way in

De Niro was asleep in one of the homes seven bedrooms (above) when the burglar forced her way in

Police were already watching the 30-year-old when she broke into De Niro's home

Police were already watching the 30-year-old when she broke into De Niro’s home 

Police have said there were signs of forced entry and that she made her way into the building via a basement door.

It is not clear how closely Aviles was being followed and therefore how easily she was able to enter the house without being stopped.

De Niro was initially asleep upstairs in the townhouse he rents for around $50,000 a month, but woke up to the sounds of the commotion and came down as Aviles was being arrested, police told the Post. 

They found her trying to put gifts underneath De Niro’s tree into a bag, and she was also using the star’s iPad, ABC 7 reported.

Aviles was charged with burglary and taken to the Lenox Hill precinct before being taken to Manhattan Criminal Court for her arraignment.

As she was escorted from the station she wore blue jeans, a black Nike sweater, a wool cap and a black parka that she used to cover parts of her face.

Police sources told the Post they did not think Aviles knew beforehand that she was entering the famous actor’s home.  

Cops found Aviles stashing presents from under the tree into her bag. She was also playing with De Niro's iPad, they said

Cops found Aviles stashing presents from under the tree into her bag. She was also playing with De Niro’s iPad, they said

At the time De Niro’s daughter was also at home sleeping in another bedroom. 

The actor split from his second wife Grace Hightower in 2021. The pair share an 11-year-old daughter.

De Niro, who grew up in Manhattan, sold the West Village townhouse in which he had lived for 37 years for $9.5million in 2012. During the pandemic he moved to stay in one of his houses in upstate New York.

Stan Rosenfield, a PR representative for De Niro, issued a brief statement indicating the actor would not be commenting on the robbery.

‘We are not making any statement at this time about the robbery at the temporary rental home of Robert De Niro,’ Rosenfield said. 

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