Date: 10th June 2002

Winona Told She Must Face Shoplifting Trial

Film star Winona Ryder will stand trial on shoplifting charges, a Beverly Hills court has ruled.
The decision came after the court heard that Ryder cut security tags off designer handbags and stuffed them in her own bag, in an upmarket clothes shop.

The allegations were made by security officer Colleen Rainey, who works at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

At the end of the hearing, Superior Court Judge Elden S Fox decided there was enough evidence for Ryder to stand trial on the charges.

Ryder is due back in court again next Friday.

She was arrested on 12 December last year for allegedly stealing some $4,800 (3,300) worth of goods, including hats, handbags, tops and hair accessories, from Saks.

The actress could face up to three years and eight months in prison, if convicted.

Ms Rainey told the Beverly Hills Court that her manager instructed her to follow 30-year-old Ryder to the fitting room.

She said: "I saw Winona Ryder in the changing room. She was kneeling on the floor, she was directly in front of the door inside the fitting room."

She said Ryder cut the security tags from two black designer handbags worth about $400 each, using scissors from her handbag.

Ryder then tried to remove the security sensors from two more bags, said Ms Rainey.

Kenneth Evans, a security manager for the store, told the court that six sensor tags that had been cut off merchandise were found hidden in the store the day after Ryder's arrest.

He said he found the four of the tags hidden in the pockets of a designer coat on display, saying that three of them were bearing material and marks that matched two designer handbags and a hair accessory.

He said those items were recovered from Ryder when she was arrested outside the store.

She left the store after walking past several cash registers, he added.

The 30-year-old actress wore a sling during the second day of hearings, after being injured on Monday in a scrum of camera crews attempting to cover the case.

In questioning Mr Evans, Ms Ryder's attorney, Mark Geragos, said the store's security staff had targetted the film star.

The lawyer also produced two receipts for several thousand dollars for clothes, which he said Ms Ryder had bought and paid for in the store during the visit.

However, Mr Evans said the goods on those receipts - designer shoes, a leather jacket and two blouses - did not correspond to many of the items in Ms Ryder's possession when she was arrested.

Police have said Ms Ryder was in possession of the painkiller oxycodone - a morphine derivative - without a prescription when she was arrested.

On Monday, Mr Geragos said Ms Ryder had a prescription for the drugs.

He said at the time of her arrest that there had been "a misunderstanding".

She was recently seen shrugging off the troubles and making bawdy jokes on stage at the MTV Movie Awards on Saturday.

Source: Press Release



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