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Backrubbing Bandit Busted After N.C. Break-Ins

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By Betty Wang, JD on August 21, 2013 12:20 PM

An alleged backrubbing bandit has been caught... again. Julio Antonio Yanez, 29, is accused of breaking into apartments, getting into bed with female occupants, and attempting to give them backrubs, reports Charlotte, North Carolina's WBTV.

Yanez has been linked to similar incidents in April and June of this year, along with two more recent incidents in July. He claimed, during his initial arrest, that he believed one of the homes belonged to an acquaintance of his.

Yanez is now being charged with three counts of breaking and entering, along with four counts of assault.

Breaking and Entering

Breaking and entering is usually considered an element of burglary.

North Carolina, however, has a separate statute specifically for the crime of breaking and entering. Any person who "wrongfully breaks or enters any building" can be charged with a misdemeanor; if the person intends to commit a felony or larceny (theft) inside the building, then he can be charged with a felony.

Yanez likely faces felony breaking and entering charges, assuming the act he intended to commit (allegedly, a backrub) can be classified as a felony.

While reports don't say whether Yanez has been charged with burglary, his alleged crime seems to fit the bill. Under North Carolina's burglary statute, if any actual person is occupying the dwelling when a burglar breaks in, then it's burglary in the first degree, which is a felony.

Assault by... Massage?

What about the acts that Yanez allegedly tried to commit? Can the attempted backrubs be classified as assault? What if they were perfectly normal, painless backrubs?

An assault is defined as any act that causes an apprehension of imminent harm. In other words, as long as Yanez acted in a way that led his victims to fear immediate unwanted touching, he can be found guilty of assault. In this case, the women likely feared that they would be harmed by a stranger who had just broken into their homes -- backrub or no backrub.

Yanez is currently being held in jail under a $6,000 secured bond.

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