Assemblywoman Hayashi accused of felony grand theft

Third-term Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who heads the Business and Professions Committee, was arrested for felony grand theft after allegedly taking $2,450 worth of goods out of the posh Neiman Marcus department store on San Francisco’s Union Square.

Hayashi, 45, D-Hayward, was arraigned Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, pleaded not guilty and was released on $15,000 bail. Her next court appearance before Judge Samuel Feng is set for Nov. 15.  

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the lawmaker was stopped by Neiman Marcus’ security detail shortly after leaving the store around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday with a shopping bag that included three items worth $2,450 that she hadn’t paid for when she checked out at the register. Hayashi was questioned by police at the Tenderloin Station and eventually booked at the San Francisco County Jail on one count of felony theft, the newspaper said.

District attorney’s spokesman Omid Talai said a grand theft conviction carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, although it’s unlikely Hayashi would face the stiffest penalty because, according to authorities, this was her first arrest.

The items, which were recovered and since held as evidence, included leather pants, a black shirt and a white blouse, police told the Sacramento Bee. Hayashi allegedly had passed several cash registers without stopping before departing the store and the incident was captured on videotape, police said.

“The incident in San Francisco was a mistake and a misunderstanding,” Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer told the Sacramento Bee. “The assemblywoman strongly believes in the justice system and is hopeful that this matter will be cleared up soon.”

Hayashi’s husband is Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi.

Mary Hayashi, a former public health analyst and a member of the Board of Registered Nursing. She currently serves as chair of the Select Committee on Community Colleges, and as a member of the Health and Insurance committees. She is vice chair of the Pacific Islander Caucus.

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