Actress Winona Ryder arrested for alleged shoplifting charge

By Anthony Breznican, The Associated Press
Friday December 14, 2001

BEVERLY HILLS — Actress Winona Ryder has been arrested for illegal drug possession and shoplifting from a Saks Fifth Avenue boutique, police said Thursday. 

Security guards at the Wilshire Boulevard store detained the Oscar-nominated star of “Little Women” and “The Age of Innocence” about 7 p.m. Wednesday after discovering her trying to steal “numerous items of clothing,” Beverly Hills police Lt. Gary Gilmond said. 

He said the items were worth $4,760 and included hair accessories. 

Ryder was booked on felony charges of grand theft and possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. 

Her lawyer Mark Geragos denied the allegations. He said Ryder has a prescription for the painkillers found in her possession and receipts for the items she allegedly stole. 

“It’s a misunderstanding on the part of the store,” he said, adding that Ryder was merely carrying items between store departments. 

Gilmond said Ryder may have a prescription for the drugs but she was booked because she couldn’t immediately produce it. 

Gilmond said store security officers saw Ryder remove tags from items, place them in her bag and leave the store. 

The waifish actress was released from custody about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday after posting $20,000 bail. 

Mara Buxbaum, Ryder’s publicist, said the actress had no immediate comment on the arrest. 

Ryder, 30, is best known for playing ponderous, melancholy characters in movies such as “Girl, Interrupted,” “Heathers,” “Beetlejuice” and “Reality Bites.” 

Her latest starring role was in last year’s satanic thriller “Lost Souls,” in which she played the survivor of a childhood exorcism. 

Ryder, who has dated actors Matt Damon and Johnny Depp, has maintained a grueling film schedule that she has blamed for causing occasional mental breakdowns. 

She has been hospitalized several times for exhaustion and has told reporters she sometimes tried to drown her anxiety attacks and depression in alcohol. 

The actress’s mental problems have occasionally hurt her career. She lost a pivotal role in 1990’s “The Godfather: Part III” days before filming began because of anxiety and exhaustion.