The owner of a vintage clothing store in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood accused of illegally selling items made from endangered species appeared in court Wednesday on criminal charges.
Cicely Hansen, owner of Decades of Fashion, made an initial appearance Wednesday on nine misdemeanor counts of possession of endangered species with intent to sell.
However, her arraignment was put over to April 17 after her request for representation by the public defender's office was denied.
Hansen, 68, on Wednesday said she is not a criminal, but a fashion historian. Decades of Fashion aims to preserve vintage fashion, including vintage furs, Hansen said.
San Francisco Vintage Boutique Raided for Illegal Animal Goods
"I don't have pelts and I'm hardly a poacher," Hansen said.
Hansen was arrested March 1, nearly a year after a Feb. 16, 2016, search of her store at 1653 Haight St. by state Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators.
Investigators seized 150 items from the store, which advertises items ranging from Victorian times to the 1980s. The items connected to the case include clothing and accessories containing skins and body parts from a jaguar, leopard, ocelot, snow leopard and endangered sea turtle, among others.
District Attorney George Gascon said the case stemmed from an anonymous tip made to state Fish and Wildlife authorities.
Undercover investigators were able to try on items for sale in a back room including a leopard skin coat that was listed for sale for $4,500, Gascon said.
"She had a normal operation in front selling vintage clothing," Gascon said. "This was purposely kept for a more discreet clientele."
State laws allow the possession of vintage items containing the body parts of endangered species, but prohibits their sale.
Hansen on Wednesday said she did not realize a law passed last year making it illegal to sell her clothes.
"I'm a preservationist. I'm a fashion historian. This is about preservation," Hansen said. "(I had) no intention to break the law."
The maximum Hansen could face is four years and six months in jail, and a $45,000 fine.