New York, NY – A serial burglar was arrested inside Hollywood actor Robert De Niro’s New York townhome early Monday after she allegedly broke into the residence in the middle of the night to steal presents from beneath De Niro’s Christmas tree, according to police.
De Niro, 79, was home at the time of the home invasion, WLS reported.
Police said they were surveilling the suspect, 30-year-old Shanice Aviles, in connection with six other burglaries when they spotted her entering the actor’s upper east side townhouse at approximately 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 19.
Officers made their way over to the residence and saw a basement door with visible signs of forced entry, according to USA Today.
They entered the house and allegedly busted the suspect snatching up gifts from beneath De Niro’s Christmas tree and stuffing them into a bag, WLS reported.
By the time the actor came downstairs to see what all the commotion was about, Aviles was already in custody on yet another burglary charge.
Police said they had no idea who the homeowner was until De Niro entered the room, WLS reported.
Aviles did not have any interaction with the actor, according to investigators.
Police described the suspect one of the New York Police Department’s “most prolific recidivist burglars,” WABC reported.
Aviles has been arrested 26 times in the past and has 16 prior burglary charges, according to WABC.
Seventeen of those 26 arrests occurred this year alone, CBS News reported.
She was most recently apprehended on Dec. 13 in connection with an Oct. 23 break in at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Astoria.
Investigators said she stole $700 during that heist, CBS News reported.
De Niro’s publicist did not have any comment about the incident on Monday, according to the news outlet.
“We are not making any statement at this time regarding the robbery at the temporary rental home of Robert De Niro,” his spokesperson, Stan Rosenfield, told USA Today.