Winona proposes charity auction of filched goods. Judge balks at the proposal from the actress, who has completed her community service

By Gary Susman
Updated April 07, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Winona Ryder: Mel Bouzad/Getty Images

What is to be done with the $5,500 worth of clothes and accessories at the heart of the Winona Ryder shoplifting case? How about auctioning the goods off for charity? That was the idea proposed by the Ryder camp at the actress’ progress hearing on Monday in Beverly Hills Superior Court. Such a proposal might make eBay happy, but not Saks Fifth Avenue, the store where Ryder went on her infamous December 2001 shopping excursion. Saks wants the goods destroyed, and Judge Elden Fox, before tabling a decision on the matter, said Ryder ”should not benefit” from her crime. ”It seems awful silly to take thousands of dollars of merchandise and burn it in a bonfire,” Ryder’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said in court. ”I can probably raise $100,000 on that stuff,” he told Reuters outside the courtroom.

Ryder was convicted of felony theft and vandalism charges last fall and sentenced to three years of probation. At the progress hearing, the court determined that Ryder had, as ordered, completed her community service, paid the $10,000 in fines and restitution, and entered a program of drug counseling and therapy. Not only did Ryder complete the required 480 hours of community service, which she spent tending cancer patients at the City of Hope hospital in Duarte, Calif., but she continued to visit patients after her service was completed, having ”formed lasting relationships with some of these terminally ill children,” Geragos said.

Judge Fox granted Ryder permission to work in movies again, including shoots that may take her outside of California or the United States. She is due back in court, however, for another progress hearing on Oct. 10.