Shanice Aviles, 30, in Manhattan court.

NEWS: NYC burglar opened Robert De Niro’s Christmas presents before bust: prosecutors

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The serial burglar charged with breaking into Robert De Niro’s Manhattan townhouse tore through the actor’s Christmas presents and stuffed them into a tote bag before she was caught red-handed, prosecutors said Tuesday as new details of the high-profile heist emerged.

Shanice Aviles, 30, used a knife and “crowbar-like tool” to force her way into the actor’s Upper East Side home on Dec. 19 — and was found inside with his earbuds still in her pocket, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Dylan Los Huertos said in court.

“She rummaged through the residence’s belongings in the cellar, the kitchen, the living room, and the second floor,” Los Huertos told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward. “She opened the Christmas presents underneath the tree and repackaged what she wanted in a tote bag.”

Los Huertos also revealed the suspected thief used De Niro’s iPod. The actor was asleep upstairs throughout the attempted heist.

Aviles, who pleaded not guilty, was arraigned on the burglary charges and ordered to remain at Rikers Island on $40,000 cash bail or a bond of up to $120,000.

Accused Robert De Niro burglar Shanice Aviles was caught ripping open the actor’s Christmas presents on Dec. 19, prosecutors said in court on Tuesday.
Steven Hirsch

The judge cited the sticky-fingered defendant’s lengthy rap sheet.

“It sounds like your client had multiple opportunities to avoid sitting here today and she has blown each and every one of them,” Ward told defense lawyer Victoria Maria Cruz. ”I will keep bail the same, your client has a total disregard for the system.”

Aviles allegedly crept down a stairwell leading to the 79-year-old Oscar winner’s basement on the Upper East Side and forced her way inside around 2 a.m.

Cops with the NYPD’s 19th Precinct Public Safety team had been keeping an eye on Aviled and recognized her as a “known burglar” with at least 26 past busts thanks to a distinctive rose tattoo, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The officers found her on the second floor fumbling around with his iPad.

Accused burglar Shanice Aviles.
Accused Robert De Niro burglar Shanice Aviles claimed she was innocent in the Dec. 19 after her arrest, telling reporters ” I didn’t murder anybody.”

Aviles proclaimed her innocence after the arrest, flashing smiles and telling reporters outside the 19th Precinct stationhouse that she was innocent.

“I didn’t go to Robert De Niro’s house,” she said. “I didn’t murder anybody.”

Aviles already had a lengthy rap sheet that includes at least 16 arrests last year, police sources have said.

Actor Robert De Niro.
Robert De Niro was asleep upstairs when police said accused burglar Shanice Aviles broke into his Upper East Side townhouse and rummaged through Christmas presents.
Stephen Yang

She was arrested for at least six burglaries in the 19th Precinct – which covers the Upper East Side – between Nov. 25 and Dec. 8, the sources said. She also faced charges for three separate burglaries in Manhattan dating to August.

The “Irishman” star was renting the $69,000-a-month home after he sold his West Village townhouse of 37 years for $9.5 million in 2012. He relocated to his home in upstate New York during the pandemic.

De Niro and his wife actress Grace Hightower filed for divorce in 2018 after 20 years of marriage. The two share a daughter born in 2011.

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