The woman who was caught red-handed inside of Robert De Niro’s $69,000 per month rented townhouse December 19 says the cops have no right to press charges and wants an opportunity to apologize to the Oscar winner.
Shanice Aviles, 30, who has a rap sheet as long as De Niro’s IMDb page, told the New York Post in an interview from Riker’s Island that her arrest ‘felt like a set up.’
At the time she allegedly broke into the home, De Niro was asleep upstairs, as was his daughter. He awoke from the sounds of the commotion and came down to his living room to find Aviles being arrested.
Through tears, Aviles told the Post, ‘I love his movies, all of them! My mother, my grandmother, my grandfather, we all used to watch them.’ She added, ‘I would love to apologize to him.’
Aviles also said, ‘I’m being held here on burglary — burglary! I didn’t take any of his stuff. I didn’t have any of his stuff on me.’
Shanice Aviles, 30, doesn’t understand how she could be charged with burglary when she didn’t take anything
Robert De Niro, 79, pictured in the hours after the break-in
Investigators say that Aviles was attempting to steal presents from beneath the Goodfellas’ star’s Christmas tree.
When police arrived, they found her trying to place gifts into a bag and playing around on the actor’s iPad.
She was being followed by NYPD officers at approximately 3am on the morning of December 19 when she broke into De Niro’s seven-bedroom, East 65th Street townhouse.
Aviles told the Post that she was coming home from her brother’s house in Long Island City when she noticed that a door to the townhouse was ajar, which leads her to believe that she was set up by the cops.
Police have said there were signs of forced entry and that she made her way into the building via a basement door. They also say that they tracked Aviles attempting to open other doors in the area.
Aviles said of De Niro, ‘People have said he’s mean, that he’s not a nice guy, but I think he’s a good guy. He could’ve made some calls and made my bail a lot more.’
Shortly after being taken into custody, Aviles told gathered reporters outside of the 19th precinct, ”I didn’t go to Robert De Niro’s house… I didn’t murder anybody!’
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
Prior to her arrest, Aviles was already on the NYPD’s radar. She was 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 earlier in December. After being arrested for the De Niro break-in, she was held on burglary charges with a $40,000 bond.
Aviles said that she would return to the rehab program if given the chance.
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.
Shanice Aviles smiled as she was led from a nearby police station in cuffs after being caught in actor Robert De Niro’s house
Police do not think that Aviles knew she was entering the home of the man regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time.
Aviles was charged with burglary and taken to the Lenox Hill precinct before being taken to Manhattan Criminal Court for her arraignment last week.
De Niro 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.
Manhattan’s tourist-packed neighborhoods have increasingly become hotbeds for crime – where brazen thieves are leaving shopkeepers feeling powerless
Hochul inherited the governorship of New York from Andrew Cuomo last year. She was re-elected in Tuesday’s midterm on a narrower-than-expected margin and has been widely panned for her soft stance on crime and bail reform.
The bail reforms implemented in 2019 do away with cash bond in most instances, a progressive idea that has meant many criminals are released back onto the streets within hours of being picked up.
‘This catch, repeat, release system is just destroying the foundation of our country. And that’s why we are losing this election,’ he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe last month.
‘Six out of 10 New Yorkers in the Hispanic and Asian community voted Democrat compared to seven to eight out of 10 last time. We are losing the base black and brown who really believe in those basic things. Public safety, housing, education,’ the former cop said.
‘We cannot talk our way out of this. We have to be real what people are facing on the street.
‘We must return to Albany… too many people in Albany, they have dug in and say, “If we change this small number of offenders and go after them, that we are relinquishing a reform that I advocated for.”
‘To not recalibrate is a big mistake because there are too many people… that are repeated offenders. They have made up their mind that they’re going to be violent in our streets, and the unpredictableness of their behavior is really…’