Thursday January 27, 1966
It happened on a night in late January. Hedy Lamarr was at the May & Co. department store in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles. She had found some nice things and was ready to go. On her way out the door, an arm reached forward and stopped her. It was the store detective.
About $14,000 in checks were discovered inside Hedy’s purse. Also in her possession were items that had been taken from the store. These things included a suit; eye makeup; a string of beads; greeting cards; and some bikini panties. The manager insisted on pressing charges, so Hedy was taken to the Sybil Brand Institution for Women and booked.
She was far from destitute. Though Hedy had not made a film in several years, she had been a guest recently on an episode of the music show Shindig and was paid for her appearance. She was also receiving $1250 a month in alimony from one of her ex-husbands.
Friday January 28, 1966
After Hedy had been booked for petty theft, she spent four hours in jail. Bail was set at $550. She paid it and was released. An arraignment was then set for February 2nd. If convicted, she could get six months in prison and a fine.
Hedy faced accusations she was a shoplifter. At a press conference held at a Beverly Hills bistro, she said it was hardly possible she was guilty of the crime. She had $14,000 in her purse when she was arrested. These were checks from movie studios—one for $9000 and the other for $5000. So how she could be accused of stealing anything from a store if she had all that money in her purse?
Hedy told reporters it was all a big misunderstanding and the store detective should not have followed her out to the parking lot. She had paid for shoes and a coat but apparently forgot to pay for the other stuff. Her arrest absolutely mystified her. Hedy said everyone was kind to her in jail, and she would write about the experience in a book.
Coming up in part 2: Hedy’s hospitalized…