MANHATTAN — A thief who cruised city office buildings under the guise of soliciting charitable donations was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison Wednesday, after admitting that he had burglarized eight commercial buildings.
Justin John, 20, confessed to hitting offices in Hudson Square, Chelsea, Midtown, the Flatiron District and Little Italy, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
Striking between May 9 and August 14, 2012, John entered buildings by waiting for someone to open doors accessible by key card, surveying every floor and saying he was collecting funds for charity, according to the DA's office. While workers were distracted, he swiped laptops and other electronics, making off with more than 20 devices.
John, a New York native, pleaded guilty on June 26 to a total of 18 counts of burglary, grand larceny and petit larceny.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said keeping burglars off the street prevents serial crimes.
“Burglars are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime, in that a single individual is often charged with committing multiple thefts," he said in a statement. "This case illustrates how the sentencing of one burglar can bring an end to an entire crime spree."
John struck 121 Varick St., 128 Mott St., 26 Little West 12th St., 10 W. 37th St., 118 W. 22nd St., 247 W. 35th St. and 138 Fifth Ave.
He is being held on Rikers Island.