Last year we watched, aghast but slightly intrigued, as a woman in a cat mask, later identified as Shana Spalding, a/k/a, “Purgatory,” the singer in a death metal band called Divine Infamy, robbed high-end boutiques with a feline intensity (and a gun). Her wanted poster was the stuff of great things on the Internet, if her criminal bent was not — or even if it was. Her spree ended, however, when she was busted leaving Cotelac, a store on Greene Street, in August of 2010. (Prior to that she’d robbed Arche Shoes near Voice HQ and a Body Shop in Astoria — that time clad in a burka — though she now claims she didn’t commit those two crimes, despite having confessed to the police and pleaded guilty.)
Via the New York Post,
Caged, Spalding claimed at first that cops had the wrong woman — until, her lawyer told jurors, she cracked under pressure of a tough police grilling.
“They didn’t beat her,” defense lawyer Lori Cohen said in closing statements. “But they pressured her. You’re the cat woman. You’re the cat woman. And eventually, she said, ‘You know what, fine. I’m the cat woman.'”
Nonetheless this, and a claim that she’d “been coerced into the final robbery by a mysterious abductor named “Angel Martinez,” did not convince jurors, who quickly convicted her of armed robbery. She’ll be sentenced on January 18 and will face a maximum of 15 years.
If it’s any consolation, she still has the best police sketch of 2010.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2011