STAR INTERRUPTED: RYDER CHARGED WITH SHOPLIFTING
BEVERLY HILLS — Has the flood of free designer goods spoiled some stars?
Grand theft charges have been filed against Oscar-nominated actress Winona Ryder, who allegedly tried to walk off with $4,760 worth of apparel and hair accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue on Wednesday night.
Security personnel at the Wilshire Boulevard store had been watching her for 30 to 45 minutes, said Beverly Hills Police Department Lieutenant Gary Gilmond at a press conference late Thursday. “They got her as she was exiting the store.”
A security video shows Ryder, 30, removing sensor tags from merchandise inside dressing rooms and placing the items in a shopping bag, he added.
Gilmond did not have details on the brands or the items themselves, nor could he say whether the shopping bag Ryder carried into the store was from Saks or another retailer.
“Saks [security] described Ms. Ryder as being friendly, polite and cooperative” during her voluntary interview at the store, Gilmond said.
The red-carpet favorite was also booked on charges of possession of pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. In California, grand theft entails stolen property valued over $500. She could face prison time, if convicted.
Ryder was released Wednesday night on $20,000 bail. She is scheduled to appear on Jan. 11 in Beverly Hills Superior Court.
“I’m telling you right now there was no theft,” roared Mark Geragos, Ryder’s attorney, at a press conference held across the street from the BHPD.
Asked repeatedly about the videotape, Geragos would only respond that Ryder was shopping and had receipts for all the merchandise in the bag.
A call to the Beverly Hills store resulted in a “no comment” from an operator, who immediately hung up the line.
Saks Fifth Avenue representatives in the New York central office would not comment on the arrest, although a spokeswoman did note that the police generally do not visit the store.
Reached late Thursday, Ryder’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said she had “no official statement at this time.”
It was the clear from the legion of reporters and TV cameras present at the press conference that the media frenzy was in full gear just hours after lunch when the story of Ryder’s arrest broke.
Ryder is not alone. Farrah Fawcett was accused of taking $72,800 worth of clothes and other belongings in 1997, and she was arrested twice in 1970 for stealing clothes from boutiques.
For other celebs, shoplifting was a youthful indiscretion. Courtney Love did a stint in an Oregon juvenile center at age 12, while actor Eddie Izzard was arrested for walking off with a lipstick at age 15.