Assemblywoman charged with shoplifting

October 29, 2011 1:33:20 AM PDT
State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, was arrested earlier this week for allegedly shoplifting about $2,500 worth of clothing from the Neiman Marcus store in San Francisco's Union Square, prosecutors said.

Hayashi, 45, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony grand theft charge in connection with the Tuesday incident and is currently free on $15,000 bail, San Francisco District Attorney's Office spokesman Omid Talai said.

A Neiman Marcus security officer stopped Hayashi at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday because she was leaving the store with three items worth $2,445 that she hadn't paid for, Talai said.

Hayashi turned to high-profile public relations consultant Sam Singer. He says this is all a big unfortunate mistake.

"She was trying to do too many things at the same time. She had several cell phones, she went down to have a snack at the cafe there, she failed to go back and purchase the items, stepped outside the door, realized that something was wrong, but before she had the opportunity to go back and correct her own mistake, security was there," said Singer.

"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."

Hayashi was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2006, representing the 18th Assembly District, which includes Hayward, Castro Valley, Dublin and Pleasanton.

According to her website, Hayashi is an award-winning author who is among the country's most accomplished advocates for expanding the delivery and coverage of health care.

Hayashi is a member of the leadership team for Assembly Speaker John Perez, serving as chair of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection.

The assemblywoman is married to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi.

ABC7News contributed to this report.

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