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Astoria heavy metal ‘Cat Lady’ robber guilty

Police had released a sketch of a woman wearing a cat mask in connection with four 2010 robberies. Shana Spalding, of Astoria, was convicted of the crimes. Photo courtesy NYPD
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A Manhattan Supreme Court jury found an Astoria death metal singer guilty of the “Cat Woman” or “Cat Lady” robberies last week, which she committed at two SoHo boutiques in summer 2010, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.

Shana Spalding, 29, who fronted the Bronx-based band Divine Infamy under the stage name “Purgatory,” was found guilty Dec. 13 of robbery and attempted robbery, the Manhattan DA said. Her sentencing date is Jan. 18, when she faces up to 22 years in prison, the Manhattan DA said.

Her crime spree drew attention when the NYPD released a sketch in June 2010 that depicted a woman wearing a cartoonish-looking cat mask.

Spalding had previously pleaded guilty to two robberies on Forest Hills’ Austin Street, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

The singer’s cat-themed crimes began in Forest Hills, when she entered a Nine West April 23, 2010, at 71-34 Austin St., wearing a black scarf, black mask and black clothing and passed a note to the clerk reading “I have a gun — give me money,” police said.

Spalding received an unknown amount of money and ran away.

A month later, she entered Arche Shoes on Astor Place July 24, 2010, the DA said. Spalding, who NYPD said was wearing a cat mask, presented a note to a woman at the counter which read, “Give me your money. I have a gun,” and put her hand inside her handbag, implying there was a weapon there, and then fled, the Manhattan DA said.

The next day, Spalding entered The Body Shop, at 71-03 Austin St., while wearing a cat mask and told the clerk to give her money or her husband would follow her and shoot everyone in the store, police said. Once again Spalding ran away after receiving the money, police said.

Her last crime occurred Aug. 25, 2010, when she entered the Y-3 Boutique on Greene Street in Manhattan, approached an employee at the cash register and said, “Listen closely. Give me the money in the cash register. I have a gun and the man across the street has a gun,” the Manhattan DA said.

The employee said he could not get the money in the register and Spalding ran away, the DA said.

She was arrested the next day, according to city Department of Correction records.

A spokesman for the Queens DA said her arrest for the Austin Street crimes occurred Sept. 9, 2010. She pleaded guilty to robbery in Queens for the Forest Hills crimes July 13, 2011, and was sentenced to a year in prison July 27, 2011, the Queens DA said.

Spalding confessed to the two Manhattan robberies, but then contended she was innocent at the trial, a Manhattan DA spokeswoman said.

“I think that that happens a lot,” the spokeswoman said. “It’s not uncommon.”

Correction records show Spalding as being held in the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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