Ex-Saks guard says she saw Winona snipping tags. She testifies that she spied on the actress through slats in a dressing-room door and saw her sucking on a cut finger and wielding a pair of scissors

By Gary Susman
October 31, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

On the third day of Winona Ryder’s shoplifting trial, the prosecution produced a witness who said she actually saw the ”Edward Scissorhands” star snipping sensor tags from the Beverly Hills store’s merchandise. The witness, former Saks security guard Colleen Rainey, testified on Wednesday that she spied on Ryder through the slats in the dressing room door and saw her wielding a pair of shears and sucking on a cut finger, according to news reports of the trial.

”I saw her looking over items she had taken in — several pairs of socks, hair accessories, a hat, a blouse. She was kind of organizing them. Then she entered into her handbag and grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting sensor tags off,” Reuters quotes Rainey as saying. The actress cut herself and got two spots of blood on a $795 Calvin Klein handbag, Rainey testified. When security guards stopped her as she was leaving, the first thing Ryder said was, ”Did my assistant pay for it,” Rainey testified, according to the New York Post.

Rainey reiterated what store security chief Kenneth Evans had said on Monday, that Ryder had also given the excuse that she was preparing for a role in a movie. According to Reuters, Rainey said Ryder told Saks staff that the movie was called ”Shopgirl” and later told police she was up for a role in the crime thriller ”White Jazz.” ”Shopgirl,” based on Steve Martin’s novel about a salesgirl at another Beverly Hills department store (Neiman Marcus), is due to go into production in January with Claire Danes, Ryder’s ”Little Women” costar, in the lead. ”White Jazz,” based on James Ellroy’s sequel to ”L.A. Confidential,” had Nick Nolte and John Cusack attached but apparently remains mired in development.

Ryder publicist Mara Buxbaum, who is attending the trial, told AP that the actress was, in fact, in talks to star in both movies, then in development, but that neither role called for shoplifting. She said that the guards had distorted Ryder’s remarks to them mentioning the films.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos, whose client has pleaded not guilty, tried to expose what he portrayed as inconsistencies in the guards’ stories. However, when he asked Evans if he had previously boasted to a friend after Ryder’s arrest that he was going to ”nail” the celebrity in court, Evans said, ”Absolutely not.”

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