A mole-man burglar has been sentenced up to 56 years in prison after he burrowed into Manhattan restaurants to steal cash and goods.
Prosecutors said Shawn McAleese (43) tunneled through the walls of Manhattan bars and restaurants to steal alcohol, food, and cash over the summer months, the New York Times reports.
McAleese began his crime spree at Molloy’s Irish Pub in Hell’s Kitchen on May 16. The 43-year-old raided the cash register, stole alcohol, food, and a printer.
“He actually took hamburgers, like he was planning a barbecue of some sort,” Kay Kenneally, a manager of Molloy’s Irish Pub in Hell’s Kitchen, told the Times.
She added that McAleese, who broke in through a back entrance, did not take any of the bar’s “fabulous single-malt Irish whiskey.”
His next theft took place at Kyotofu, also in Hell’s Kitchen, where he stole more than $8,000 in cash, two racks of ribs, bottles of sake, and two computers on May 30.
He continued his burglary spree in the Chelsea neighborhood, where the thief neat targeted Bareburger, where he stole $11,200.
His attorney Brian Pakett said his client had not tunneled into the eateries.
“Mr. McAleese is not Sonic the Hedgehog,” he said.
He told the court that his client has been suffering with a cocaine addiction for years.
“He’s a respectable, personable man who has a drug problem,” he said.
On Wednesday, the defendant pleaded guilty to eight counts of third-degree burglary, he was sentenced to 28 to 56 years in prison for “breaking into residential homes and then tunneling through walls to steal money, computers and food from neighboring businesses,” a news release from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr said.
“The defendant embarked upon a two-month-long burglary spree throughout Manhattan,” said District Attorney Vance. “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.”