Assemblywoman Charged With Shoplifting in SF

Mary Hayashi faces three years behind bars if convicted of grand theft.

By Mike Anderson
|  Friday, Oct 28, 2011  |  Updated 5:03 PM PDT
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Hayashi allegedly stole leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse worth $2,450.

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A Democratic assemblywoman of Castro Valley was charged with felony grand theft for allegedly snatching more than $2,000 in merch from Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.

Prosecutors said 45-year-old Mary Hayashi, who represents the 18th California Assembly District, was caught on a security camera walking out of the store on Union Square around noon Tuesday with a shopping bag full of items she didn't pay for.

SFGate reports the items were leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse. Stylish, but if convicted Hayashi could do a minimum of three years in prison. This was her first arrest, according to police.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for Hayashi, said the incident was just a big misunderstanding. He said Hayashi was using two cell phones, texting and calling, when she inadvertently walked outside with the shopping bag.

"This was not an attempt at shoplifting," he said.

In court Thursday, Hayashi pleaded not guilty. She has another court date scheduled for Nov. 15.

The 18th Assembly District includes Hayward, Dublin, San Leandro, Pleasanton and Castro Valley. Hayashi was the first Korean American woman elected to the state Legislature.

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