Date: 12th April 2002

Winona Ryder Faces Court On Shoplifting Charge


Winona Ryder will appear in court later this month accused of shoplifting from a Beverly Hills department store.

The actress is to face charges of theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of Oxycodone - a controlled drug. She will attend Beverly Hills Court on April 23 for a preliminary hearing, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said.

Ryder has pleaded not guilty to all of the four felony charges filed against her. The 30-year-old was arrested last December in Wilshire Boulevard, one of Los Angeles's most prestigious shopping addresses, outside top store Saks of Fifth Avenue after police were called by security staff. She is alleged to have stolen several items valued at between 4,000 dollars (2,800) and 5,000 dollars (3,500) from the store.

Police allege the actress was seen on a store security camera using a pair of scissors to cut security tags off merchandise. She was also found in possession of pharmaceutical drugs for which she allegedly had no prescription when she was arrested.

Ryder was released on bail of 20,000 dollars (14,000) after being taken to the Beverly Hills Police Department. After her arrest, Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos denied the allegations. He said the actress had a prescription for the painkillers and receipts for the items she allegedly stole.

He said the incident was a "misunderstanding on the part of the store" and that Ryder was carrying the items between store departments. Ryder, who shot to fame in the 1988 comedy hit Beetlejuice (1988), has twice been nominated for an Oscar and won critical acclaim for playing docile May Welland in the Age of Innocence.

Source: Press Release