Tunnel Burglar Hit With Whopping 28-Year Prison Sentence -- And He Didn't Even Kill Anyone
When 43-year-old Shawn McAleese was tunneling his way into Manhattan businesses to steal stuff earlier this year, he probably didn't think he could potentially face more time in prison than a convicted murderer. He was wrong.
McAleese was sentenced today to 28 years to 56 years in state prison after pleading guilty to a string of robberies, during which he broke into residential apartments that were next to bars or restaurants and tunneled through walls to gain access to the businesses.
"[McAleese] embarked upon a two-month-long burglary spree throughout Manhattan," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance says. "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. 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."
On August 27, McAleese pleaded guilty to burglarizing at least eight businesses in the Flatiron district, Hell's Kitchen, the Upper East Side, Murray Hill, and Central Harlem between May 3 and June 30.
McAleese typically didn't steal from the apartments he broke into to gain access to the businesses -- again, by often tunneling through walls -- but once in the bar or restaurant he stole cash, computers, and alcohol.
Under the conditions of the plea agreement, McAleese must serve 28 years in prison before he's eligible for parole, which is three years longer than a recently convicted murderer must serve before he can face a parole board.
On July 7, 2009, Pabon, who was working as a freight elevator operator at an office building at 2 Rector Street -- where victim Eridania Rodriguez also worked as a member of the cleaning staff -- followed Rodriguez to the eighth floor of the building, where he attacked her and suffocated her with industrial tape. He then used the freight elevator that he operated to move body to the 12th floor and hide it in an air duct. Rodriquez's body was found four days later.
Pabon was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, which means he could potentially be back on the streets when he's roughly 50 years old. McAleese -- who didn't kill anyone -- won't even be considered for parole until he's 71.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.