Celebrities who were caught shoplifting

Why would celebrities ever feel the need to shoplift? According to experts, stars that steal almost never do it because they suddenly find themselves in dire financial straits. "It gives them the 'rush,' a 'high,'" Barbara Staib, director of communications for the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, told the BBC in 2012. "It can be a relief," she said, "if only a temporary one." Meanwhile, in 2002, psychiatrist Dr. Heather Krell told Good Morning America that shoplifting and stardom have quite a bit in common (via People): "To be a celebrity you have to take lots of chances," she said. "You have to get caught up in the moment. And it certainly seems that that's part of shoplifting."

Though these heady theories might be slightly overreaching, you can't blame experts for wanting to get to the bottom of this pop-culture phenomenon, since such a surprising number of celebs have been suspected of shoplifting over the years. Stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Britney Spears have each been accused of pilfering goods, while actress Winona Ryder is almost as famous for her alleged 2001 shoplifting incident as her performances in films like Beetlejuice and Mermaids. Want to know which celebs have been accused of such crimes? Here are a few bold-faced names to keep in your back pocket.

​Lindsay Lohan and the $2,500 necklace

Amid a swirl of news cameras, actress Lindsay Lohan appeared at the L.A. Airport Courthouse on Feb. 9, 2011 to face charges that she'd filched a necklace from a Venice jewelry shop, which was estimated to be worth $2,500. According to the Los Angeles Times, officials claimed the store's surveillance cameras even captured the Herbie: Fully Loaded star wearing the necklace in question. Beyond that, the paps reportedly snapped a few photos of Lohan proudly bopping through town with the jewelry around her throat. As TMZ reports, Lohan claimed the necklace had been "loaned to her." In the heat of the fracas, she allegedly wrote on Facebook: "I would never steal. ... I was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal" (via the Daily Mail). Meanwhile, an assistant told TMZ: "She wanted to give the necklace back to the store the day after she took it from the store, but she was very busy" (via the Daily Mail).

According to CBS News, Lohan "pleaded no contest" in court. Despite the fact that she never exactly fessed up to committing the glamorous gaffe, "the case [was] still recorded as a conviction." The judge ordered Lohan to "serve a 120-day jail sentence" on top of "480 hours of community service." Beyond that, she was forced to undergo extensive counseling and attend "an anti-shoplifting class."

Rex Reed really loves Peggy Lee

How far would you go to own selections from the Peggy Lee songbook? In February 2000, persnickety film critic Rex Reed reportedly dashed out of a Tower Records in Manhattan, discreetly carrying a few CDs on his person that he'd neglected to purchase. Hawk-eyed Tower Records security personnel apparently watched this go down with growing interest. As CBS News reports, the music included California Suite by Mel Torme, Songs from Pete by Peggy Lee, and Carmen McRae's Easy to Love. Reed allegedly slipped two of those discs into his coat pocket, while another CD was reportedly tucked into the "rear waistband" of his trousers, according to the New York Post.

In court, Reed evidently rejected a plea deal, instead blaming the whole sorry situation on having had a "senior moment." He insisted he wasn't really "guilty of anything but stupidity," and then lobbed this zesty zinger into the proceedings: "If I have to go to shoplifting class, fine, I'll review their movie." Reed also boasted that he'd received a personal letter from Miss Peggy Lee herself, and her supportive words lifted his spirits. "It made me cry," he said. According to the Chicago Tribune, the case was eventually "dismissed," and Reed was evidently ecstatic as he fled Criminal Court: "From now on I'm going to write nothing but good reviews," he quipped.

Tila Tequila's sticky fingers

Tila Tequila is perhaps not the most surprising name to appear on this list. Considering the former reality star has made headlines in recent years for wearing swastika-emblazoned armbands, referring to Adolf Hitler as a "special and sweet kid," and posting chilling YouTube vlogs about how she's habitually haunted by indiscriminate demons, the fact that she was once caught shoplifting could be considered one of her least-shocking scandals.

As Page Six reports, Tequila took to MySpace in 2010 to share the story of her brush with the law. She wrote that she'd "lost [her] wallet" and "was SO HUNGRY" that day that she'd decided to slip primly into a nearby CVS Pharmacy and swipe "some bubble gum" and a bag of potato chips — snacks that evidently constitute a meal in her exclusive world. "Unfortunately the security guard caught me shoplifting!" she said. Tequila subsequently had to deal with "a court case," and was evidently so tickled by all the swirling drama, she decided she could "certify myself a REAL GANGSTA!" 

Perhaps we should point out that Tequila subsequently certified herself "the second coming of Jesus" in 2015, so this shoplifting debacle is but the tiniest particle in the misguided mosaic that is her public life.

Actor Shaun Weiss's Rite-Aid arrest

Actor Shaun Weiss probably doesn't look altogether familiar to you in this mugshot, unless you happen to travel in some especially rough circles in Los Angeles. The troubled star is perhaps best known for roles in The Mighty Ducks and Heavyweights, but these days, he's making headlines by getting into a great deal of legal trouble. In November 2018, Weiss was reportedly "busted" after stealing more than "$200 worth" of goods from a Rite Aid in Los Angeles, according to TMZ. It was at least his second shoplifting charge: TMZ previously reported that Weiss allegedly stole $151 worth of products from Fry's Electronics in 2017, which subsequently landed him "150 days" in the clink. 

An alleged predilection for shoplifting isn't the only thing keeping Weiss's name in the tabloids. According to professional Weiss-watchers TMZ, he was "busted for possession of meth" less than a week after serving his time in jail for the 2017 shoplifting incident. In a 2018 Facebook post, Weiss opened up about his ongoing struggles, writing that he'd reached a point that was "BELOW rock bottom" (via TMZ). The way he put it: "Even rock bottom is like 'holy s**t, how'd you get all the way down there?'"

Amanda Bynes and the Barneys 'misunderstanding'

In October 2014, the NYPD paid a visit to Barneys New York after actress Amanda Bynes allegedly sashayed out of the high-end retailer without paying for a hat (via People). Nevertheless, security evidently let Bynes go before cops arrived on the scene. Charges weren't filed, but Bynes reportedly "signed a no-trespass affidavit," which barred her from ever entering the store again. She dismissed the kerfuffle as "a misunderstanding," claiming she was just heading out to her car to grab her handbag. Perhaps fearing her story sounded wack, she added that "undercover" paparazzi had been antagonizing her inside the store. She told People she left Barneys in order to escape their clutches, but was still wearing the hat. "I basically just had to leave," she said, revealing that management told her in no uncertain terms: "'Please, just don't shop at Barneys anymore.'"

One important detail casts suspicion on Bynes' tales of pushy paparazzi and left-behind handbags: The actress was reportedly involved in another shoplifting scandal that same afternoon. According to TMZ, wary Pookie & Sebastian employees tailed the actress through the store "because she was acting suspicious." Bynes allegedly tried leaving the store with one of their shirts "stuffed between her arms." When stopped by an employee, the actress allegedly asked: "Do I really have to buy this?"

Winona Ryder's alleged five-finger discount

It would be criminal not to include Winona Ryder here. In 2001, the Beetlejuice actress was arrested after allegedly zipping out of a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue armed with approximately "$5,000 worth of clothes, hair accessories and a handbag" that she hadn't paid for, according to the New York Daily News. Ryder was also "charged with illegal possession of an antidepressant drug."

In 2002, Time reported that the actress was convicted "of grand theft and vandalism." She avoided jail, but had to perform "480 hours of community service" and cough up over $10,000 in "fines and restitution," according to CNN. Throughout the scandal, Ryder maintained a sense of humor about the debacle, wearing a "FREE WINONA" T-shirt for a W magazine cover and satirizing the situation on Saturday Night Live (via Time). 

Although the incident momentarily hobbled her career, Ryder later told Interview that the scandal turned out to be a good thing, because she "really needed the time off" (via the Daily Mail). Following the success of the Netflix show Stranger Things, Ryder reminded the public (via The Independent) that, "It wasn't like the crime of the century!"

Why Megan Fox won't shop at WalMart anymore

Don't ever ask Megan Fox to shop at Walmart with you. She will say no, and you will feel awkward. In 2009, the Daily Express revealed that the Transformers star was "banned from the chain store" as a teenager after getting caught trying to steal a bunch of makeup from the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen line of cosmetics. "I don't know if the ban was for life," Fox said, but she evidently doesn't want to take her chances and hasn't been back. Following her uncomfortable brush with the law, a teenage Fox had to appear in court, where she was reportedly given "two choices, and I took the second choice."

Her so-called punishment "wasn't really a punishment," Fox says. She simply had to wrap Christmas presents for Walmart customers, an experience she claims was actually "awesome." Option No. 2, on the other hand, sounds like it would've been far less festive: "They were gonna make me wear a sign that said I stole from Walmart and stand outside Walmart for three days."

​Lainie Kazan reportedly got a great deal on groceries

On Christmas Eve 2017, actress Lainie Kazan — perhaps best known for her appearance in My Big Fat Greek Wedding — was arrested after allegedly attempting to squirrel away about about $180 in groceries from a Gelson's supermarket in California, reported TMZ. The tabloid chose the uncharacteristically tempered headline, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding mom busted for shoplifting," while the Daily Mail picked up the slack by inevitably going for "My Big Fat Greek Robbery!"

Kazan reportedly tried stashing various items into "several reusable bags" before making a beeline to her car, but the alleged plot was foiled and police were notified. The actress, who was 77 at the time, was "arrested for petty theft" and led to the police station in handcuffs. It was later revealed that Kazan was allegedly a regular shopper — and regular shoplifter — at that particular Gelson's. According to a later TMZ report, employees swore Kazan would habitually load up her cart full of food, head towards the checkout lines, and eventually bid a hasty retreat in the mad scramble of paying customers. Footage from security cameras reportedly backed up that claim, but Kazan's attorney, Mark Werksman, denied it all to to People, insisting that "Lainie Kazan is not a shoplifter or a thief." 

No word on how this all ended, but seeing as she was featured in the PBS program Hanukkah: A Festival of deLights in December 2018, we're fairly certain Kazan wasn't sentenced to life in prison.

Will & Grace's Shelley Morrison says she doesn't remember

Actress Shelley Morrison is best known for her supporting role on the original run of Will & Grace, where she portrays Rosario, Karen Walker's saucy and witty Salvadoran housekeeper. (Morrison didn't return when the property was exhumed in 2017, as she reportedly decided to retire from show business, according to The Hollywood Reporter.) Back in 2003, the performer made headlines after reportedly stealing "$446 worth of costume jewelry from Robinsons-May department store," reported People

Morrison reportedly claimed she'd suffered some sort of fugue state akin to temporary amnesia while doing her shopping. She remembered heading to the store to purchase shoes, but then details got iffy: "The next thing I remember is being surrounded by security guards," she claimed. "I emptied my pockets to find this horrible jewelry I would have never bought for myself or given as a gift in a million years."

The incident supposedly sent Morrison into a deep depression, and she claimed she "spiraled into this black pit for about 2½ weeks." Despite the semi-scandal, the Will & Grace cast and crew were reportedly supportive, with Morrison telling People: "Sean Hayes called and said, 'I live so close by! I can go get groceries!'" She was reportedly "given a $300 fine, one year probation and told to stay away from the store."

​Kim Richards allegedly took toys from Target

In August 2015, Kim Richards, a prominent personality on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was thrown in jail for the night after getting arrested "on suspicion of shoplifting," according to Reuters. She'd allegedly treated herself to a five-finger discount at Target, stocking up on about $600 worth of thoroughly random items. TMZ reported that she gathered approximately "two shopping carts full of stuff" and took her sizable booty to the express aisle, where she ultimately decided to leave without paying for her treasures. Her chosen merchandise consisted mostly of "toys and beauty products" from "the dollar section." In fact, the Daily Mail claimed her selections included coloring books, stickers, and crayons. This incident came on the heels of another arrest in April of that year, after Richards got into a drunken skirmish at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Richards "pleaded no contest" to the shoplifting charges (via Page Six), and was ordered to perform "30 days of community service and 52 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings" (via the Daily Mail).

Britney Spears allegedly got wiggy with it

On Nov. 18, 2007, pop star Britney Spears made a particularly fateful visit to the adult-themed Hustler store in West Hollywood, Calif. As US Weekly reported, the "Gimme More" singer allegedly wanted to test-drive a pair of "saucy knickers," and was incensed to learn she couldn't try them on before buying them (via the Daily Mail). According to a source, the store simply doesn't "allow people to try on underwear," and this rule evidently "upset" Spears. She allegedly removed the underwear she was wearing right then and there, much to the chagrin of staffers and customers, and proceeded to try on the lingerie before their startled eyes.

Spears reportedly plunked down a credit card to pay for the panties, which reportedly featured the words "Barely Legal" across the back. However, she apparently continued causing trouble following her purchase. In fact, she allegedly stole a wig off the head of a poor, defenseless, mannequin. As far as we know, she never returned the wig and might be wearing it right now, chortling mirthfully in the mirror.  

According to Elite Daily, that isn't Spears' only alleged shoplifting adventure. In 2008, she allegedly waltzed out of a Fred Segal outlet wearing some $200 long-sleeved number that she "forgot" to purchase. (She returned the garment, and the police didn't get involved.) Perhaps strangest of all, Spears reportedly stole a lighter from a gas station in December 2007, which would've cost her $1.39 (via People). The station owner still wants it back.

Jake Gyllenhaal reportedly stole a Speedo swim brief

If you're going to steal, why not steal a Speedo? Back in the day, actor Jake Gyllenhaal apparently swiped a pair of the skimpy swim trunks as part of an absurd prank that went down at the Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles. If you believe the reporting of FemaleFirst, the Donnie Darko star allegedly walked into the Speedo store, poured himself into the bathing suit, and then went the extra mile by waltzing out of the store while wearing the trunks. "A friend of mine dared me actually," he claimed. 

It could have been the perfect crime, but then the local fuzz got involved. "I was arrested by the Beverly Center cops," Gyllenhaal revealed. "It was really serious for them; they don't see much action. It was a big moment for all of us." We must point out that this legal kerfuffle was not widely reported, so we'll leave it to you to decide if you'd like to believe this modern fable.