While Hollywood street vendors push "Save Winona" T-shirts, actress Winona Ryder is steering clear of the paparazzi hounding her since her December shoplifting arrest. As she awaits a preliminary hearing, the actress can take comfort in knowing she's not a lone star.
There's a long list of celebrities arrested on shoplifting charges. Just last week, Olympic gold medalist Olga Korbut was charged with stealing $19 in groceries from a Georgia supermarket.
Tennis star Jennifer Capriati shocked her fans a few years back when she was accused of stealing a ring from a small store in Tampa, Fla. Movie critic Rex Reed was once charged with lifting a couple of CDs. And Bess Myerson, the former Miss America, was arrested 15 years ago for stealing $44 dollars in merchandise.
Need, Greed, Kicks?
Why would celebrities, who have fame, fortune and a reputation to protect choose to shoplift?
UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Heather Krell said the drive to shoplift is similar to the drive someone has to become a star.
"In order to be a celebrity you have to take lots of chances," Krell said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
"You have to believe in yourself and that you're going to prevail and you have to get caught up in the moment. And it certainly seems that that's part of shoplifting," she said.
Lawyer Says It's All a Mistake
On Tuesday, Ryder pleaded not guilty to four felony charges. The actress was arrested Dec. 12 after being stopped outside Saks Fifth Avenue on Los Angeles' Wilshire Boulevard with allegedly stolen merchandise worth more than $4,000. She was released on $20,000 bail after being escorted to the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Investigators say the actress, who has appeared in films such as Girl, Interrupted and The Age of Innocence, was seen on a store security camera using a pair of scissors to cut security tags off merchandise.
The 30-year-old actress was also found in possession of pharmaceutical drugs for which she had no prescription, police said. The four felony charges are theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled drug — Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller.
Ryder faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted, but could also be sentenced to probation. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 11.
Her attorney, Mark Geragos, said the incident was a misunderstanding and that Ryder was carrying merchandise between store departments. He said she had a prescription for the painkiller.
Krell said shoplifters are often misunderstood individuals.
"People often think that it's a specific kind or type of person and that perhaps they even need the items that they are shoplifting," she said. "Often it's not the case at all. Socioeconomic status can vary, education can vary, background can vary, and certainly fame is no protector."
A shoplifter, on average, goes lifting an average of 49 times before getting caught, according to Krell. She said that treatment for shoplifting is very difficult, but shoplifters can seek out some very effective self-help groups that have been able to assist people in breaking the pattern.