Astoria woman arrested in Manhattan robbery, suspected in ‘Cat Lady’ thefts

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An Astoria woman who fronts a death metal band based in the Bronx was arraigned Thursday on charges of robbery and attempted robbery of two boutiques in Soho,  the Manhattan district attorney said. Police sources say the suspect may be the “Cat Woman” involved in  two other heists in Queens.

Shana Spalding, 28, who sings lead vocals for metal band Divine Infamy under the stage name of “Purgatory,” allegedly entered Arche Shoes at 10 Astor Place at 1:30 p.m. on June 24 and presented a note to an employee,  according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA.  Police said the woman was wearing a cat mask.

The note said “Give me your money. I have a gun,” and the intruder put her hand inside her handbag, implying the weapon was inside, the complaint said. The DA’s office said the employee gave the woman money and she fled.

On Thursday, Spalding allegedly entered Y-3 Boutique at 92 Greene St. at 3:45 p.m., 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,” according to the DA. When the employee told Spalding he could not get the money in the register, Spalding left, the DA said.  There was no mention of the mask in this incident.

The DA’s office said Spalding confessed to the two robberies and identified herself in a video of the Arche Shoe robbery.

The modus operandi matched descriptions of two robberies that police had sought help from the public on several months earlier.  On April 23, police said, a woman  decked out in a black scare, black clothing and a cat mask went into the Nine West at 71-34 Austin St. in Forest Hills, passed a note that said “I have a gun — give me money.” She was given an unknown amount of money and fled.

In another Forest Hills robbery, police said a woman sporting a cat mask entered The Body Shop on 71-03 Austin St. and demanded money, claiming her husband would come into the store and shoot everyone if she did not receive it. She received an unknown amount of money and fled.

Spalding had not been charged with the robberies in Forest Hills as of Friday afternoon.

She was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court and held on a $25,000 cash bail over a $75,000 bond, the Manhattan DA said. She remained in custody, the DA said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:10 pm, October 10, 2011
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