Actor Robert De Niro's Upper East Side home burglarized
NEW YORK - Shanice Aviles, the suspect accused of breaking into Oscar-winner Robert De Niro's home on the Upper East Side, faced a judge Monday night.
On her way to central booking, Aviles denied breaking into De Niro's home, but police said they caught her red-handed. According to the NYPD, she's been arrested 17 times this year.
Police said a burglar broke into De Niro's townhouse while he and his family, including young children, were sleeping upstairs.
It happened just before 3 a.m. The NYPD said patrol officers noticed a known repeat offender walking into the basement door of De Niro's home.
When she did not come out, they followed her in. According to sources, officers saw her picking up Christmas presents.
We're told De Niro came downstairs as officer confronted her.
CBS2's cameras caught the two-time Academy Award-winner leaving his townhouse hours later.
"Yes I'm good, thank you," said De Niro.
In his 60-year career, De Niro has played cops and robbers. This time, he played unwitting host to both.
"He was sleeping upstairs! It's a Hollywood movie in the making," said Upper East Side resident Peter Santoro.
"It is. You couldn't write it any better, absolutely," said tourist Harris Deller.
Citywide, burglaries are up 23 percent compared to this time last year, and up 39 percent in the Upper East Side's 19th Precinct, where De Niro lives.
"It doesn't come as a surprise that his house was robbed. That's what's happening in the city," Santoro said.
"This is the time of year everybody has to be aware because of the holidays and they're out there looking to get you," said Diane McLaughlin.
Aviles has a history of alleged burglaries in the neighborhood. According to sources, she was arrested over the summer for stealing $2,000 worth of iPads and coupons from the Lenox Hill senior center on East 70th Street.
"I think they must be very mentally sick that they have to avail themselves of other peoples' belongings," said Anna Lukas, a member of the senior center.
Aviles was arrested last week for allegedly stealing hundreds of dollars from a church in Queens. She was out on bail in that case when she was arrested Monday morning.
The NYPD believes the Aviles was unaware De Niro was renting the home.
for more features.