News & Politics

Tunnel Burglar Hit With Whopping 28-Year Prison Sentence — And He Didn’t Even Kill Anyone

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*UPDATE* We’ve compiled a list of what McAleese stole that would warrant such a lengthy prison sentence. Ribs and saki are involved.

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.

Joseph Pabon was convicted earlier this year of kidnapping and murdering a Manhattan mother of three.

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.