A hearing is set for next tomorrow for Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-18th) on a charge of felony shoplifting after she was stopped leaving San Francisco's Neiman Marcus Union Square department store with nearly $2,500 in unpaid merchandise.
Omid Talai. a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's office, said Hayashi, whose district includes part of Pleasanton, was charged with one count of grand theft stemming from the incident, which took place shortly after noon on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
A Neiman Marcus security officer stopped Hayashi at about 12:15 p.m. because she was leaving the store with three items worth $2,445 that she hadn't paid for, Talai said. The merchandise was leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse, according to reports.
"She was transported to the Tenderloin (police) station and booked for grand theft," he said.
Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer called the incident "a mistake and misunderstanding."
He said Hayashi carries two cell phones and was texting and phoning with a bag in her hands and inadvertently stepped outdoors.
"This was not an attempt at shoplifting," he said. "The assemblywoman apologizes for the misunderstanding. She strongly believes in the justice system and hopes that this matter will be cleared up soon."
The 45-year-old General Assemblywoman, whose district also includes Hayward, Castro Valley and Dublin, was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday according to Talai, who said she pleaded not guilty and has been released on $15,000 bail.
Hayashi has served in the General Assembly since 2006 and is chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, which is charged with protecting consumers.
She is married to Alameda Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, who was elected in 2008.