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East Bay Assemblywoman Charged With Shoplifting At Union Square

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Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (State of California)

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (State of California)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A state assemblywoman has been accused of stealing nearly $2,500 worth of merchandise from a San Francisco department store.

Mary Hayashi of Castro Valley was arraigned on Thursday in a San Francisco Superior Court on one felony theft charge. Hayashi was arrested after allegedly stealing the merchandise from the Neiman Marcus store in Union Square. She was reportedly caught on video surveillance and detained by store security.

Hayashi pleaded not guilty to the charge and will be back in court Nov. 15.

Hayashi, 45, is a Democrat and has served in the Assembly since 2006. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2010. She is married to Alameda Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi.

Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer called the incident “a mistake and misunderstanding.”

Singer said Hayashi carries two cell phones and was texting and phoning with a bag in her hands and inadvertently stepped outdoors.

“This was not an attempt at shoplifting,” he said. “The assemblywoman apologizes for the misunderstanding. She strongly believes in the justice system and hopes that this matter will be cleared up soon.”

Hayashi was born in South Korea and is the first Korean-American woman elected to the California state legislature.

Hayashi is a member of the leadership team for Assembly Speaker John Perez, serving as chair of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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