- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The law regards burglaries at dwellings as more serious crimes than in buildings where nobody resides, though New York’s top court says it’s a question of proximity in mixed-use structures.

The Court of Appeals says Lionel McCray deserves more severe second-degree burglary charges for unlawfully entering a Manhattan building one October night in 2009.

It contained various businesses, including a Hilton Hotel, where McCray broke into an employee’s locker, and nearby Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum where he took items.

Judge Robert Smith writes the hotel “unquestionably” qualifies as a dwelling, historically meaning “a place of repose” or one usually occupied by an overnight lodger.

He cites risks of “night terror” and “danger of violence” when burglars near rooms where people sleep, concluding McCray came close enough on hotel stairways.

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