MANHATTAN — A serial burglar who broke into homes across Manhattan and then tunneled through the walls of those apartments to rob neighboring businesses was sentenced Wednesday to 28 to 56 years in prison.
Shawn McAleese, 43, pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of burglary in the third degree for the robbery spree during which he stole nearly $25,000, as well as liquor and food, over the course of about two months earlier this year.
McAleese, a convicted felon who lived in Hell's Kitchen, targeted at least eight residential buildings in the Flatiron District, Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper East Side, Murray Hill and Central Harlem from May 3 to June 30, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.
McAleese, who was driven by an addiction to cocaine, rarely stole from the residential apartments and instead used them to access neighboring businesses, including bars, restaurants and lounges.
In some instances, McAleese used the apartments to gain access to alleys that abutted certain businesses. In others, he would tunnel through the walls of the apartment to reach the business, typically stealing cash, food and liquor.
“He not only violated the sanctity of private homes by breaking into residences, but also used those apartments as launch pads to steal from nearby businesses,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. “Theft from a business doesn’t end at emptying the cash register; it jeopardizes the job security of those who work there because it affects the bottom line.”