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Winona Ryder Sentenced to Probation, Community Service

Sparks flew Friday at Winona Ryder's sentencing hearing in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The actress was sentenced to three years' probation, drug counseling and several fines for stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Saks Fifth Avenue store last year.

In a case where both sides have asked that Ryder be treated like any other citizen, her day in court was anything but normal.

Saks Fifth Avenue general counsel Kenneth Metzner led off the day with a speech in which he slammed Ryder for her public appearances on Saturday Night Live, MTV and in W magazine.

He said the department store had kept quiet about the case and added that Saks employees had been dragged through the mud for "apprehending a movie-star thief."

Ryder's defense attorney Mark Geragos charged that prosecutors did not treat her like any other defendant, and got a felony conviction "after they [had] done everything possible to try to destroy this woman."

Geragos reminded the court that Ryder had, among other good deeds, posted a reward to find 12-year-old Polly Klaas, who was kidnapped from her Petaluma, Calif., home in 1993 and later found dead. Ryder grew up in Petaluma.

Prosecutor Ann Rundle shot back that it was "offensive for someone to trot out the body of a dead child," referring to Klaas.

Ryder gasped, looking horrified, and abruptly stood up at the statement, but did not say anything.

Marc Klaas, Polly's father, appeared on TV after the hearing and called Ryder a "double felon with a very big heart."

Superior Court Judge Elden Fox imposed a punitive fine of $2,700 on Ryder as well as a restitution fine of $1,000 to be paid to the court, restitution of $6,355 to be paid to Saks for the merchandise, 480 hours of community service and participation in a court-approved drug- and psychological-counseling program.

Ryder also received a technical term of one day in jail but was given credit for the day she was booked.

Ryder, a two-time Academy Award nominee, was convicted last month of felony grand theft and vandalism for taking more than $5,500 worth of merchandise at the Beverly Hills store last year.

Ryder faced up to three years in prison, but prosecutors did not recommend any time behind bars because she had no prior convictions.

Ryder's infamous shopping trip on Dec. 12, 2001, garnered international headlines and became the buzz of late-night talk shows.

During her trial, jurors were shown security videotapes of Ryder wandering through the store's designer boutiques and taking a large number of items into dressing rooms.

A security guard testified she looked through dressing-room door slats and saw Ryder cutting off sensor tags with scissors, but the tapes did not show that.

Security staff testified that after Ryder was caught, she claimed a director had told her to shoplift to prepare for a movie role.

The defense said that after Ryder's first purchase, the actress believed the store would keep her account "open" after she returned to the store floor and charge her later. But there was no evidence of an account.

Earlier this week, prosecutors revealed that Ryder had eight narcotics in her possession — all prescribed by doctors — when she was arrested.

Transcripts made public after the trial disclosed that Ryder had been suspected of shoplifting from two other high-end department stores in the past, but that no charges had been filed. Prosecutors were not allowed to present those allegations during the trial.

Ryder, who began her film career as a teenager in 1986, earned Academy Award nominations for Little Women and The Age of Innocence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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