Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2012

DA VANCE: SERIAL BURGLAR SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON FOR BREAKING INTO 12 HOMES IN CHINATOWN

Defendant Pleaded Guilty to Burglary as a Hate Crime for Targeting Chinese Victims

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of KENNETH HARDEN-SMITH, 24, to eight years in prison and five years of post-release supervision for burglarizing 12 apartments in Chinatown. On February 1, 2012, the defendant pleaded guilty to Burglary in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime and Burglary in the Second Degree.

“The defendant’s bias-related burglaries didn’t just hurt the victims he stole from - he instilled fear throughout the Chinatown community,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office’s Hate Crimes Unit will continue to support and protect New York’s diverse communities by aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate-motivated crimes.”

As admitted by the defendant during his guilty plea, and according to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, between October 2010 and November 2010, HARDEN-SMITH broke into twelve apartments in the Chinatown area of Manhattan. He entered buildings that had open front doors. Once inside the buildings, he entered apartments that had unlocked doors, and used credit or ATM cards to open locked doors. In many of the apartments, the victims were asleep in their bedrooms; some of these victims remained asleep, but a few woke up during the break-in. HARDEN-SMITH stole electronics, including laptops, cell phones, and a flatscreen television, which he resold. He also stole credit cards and cash, which he used to purchase MetroCards that he later resold.  He admitted to selecting the victims in Chinatown because of his strong dislike for Chinese people.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Zito handled the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Armando Durastanti, Chief of Trial Bureau 40, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, Chief of the Hate Crimes Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Robert Ferrari, Deputy Chief of Trial Bureau 40.

Defendant Information:

KENNETH HARDEN-SMITH, D.O.B. 11/17/1987

Convicted:

  • Burglary in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Burglary in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentence:

  • 8 years in prison
  • 5 years post-release supervision

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New York County District Attorney | duggane@dany.nyc.gov | 212-335-9400