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Mexican actress breaks silence about theft arrest in San Antonio, sues Saks

December 6, 2018

Mexican telenovela actress Daniela Castro has sued Saks & Co. and one of its loss prevention officers over what she contends was a wrongful arrest during a shopping trip in San Antonio.

Castro, 52, and her lawyers, Mark Fassold and Alfonso Cabañas of San Antonio, announced the lawsuit at a news conference in Mexico City on Wednesday, less than a week after District Attorney Nico LaHood dismissed a misdemeanor theft charge against her that stemmed from her arrest at Saks OFF 5th on Sept. 28.

In a motion dismissing the case on Nov. 29, LaHood’s office said it found no probable cause for Castro’s arrest. In an interview after the dismissal, LaHood said that Castro was a frequent shopper at Saks OFF 5th at the Rim Shopping Center who appeared to pay for items she was accused of stealing.

Castro, whose real name is Danielle Stefani Arellano Castro, is one of Mexico’s most well-known TV actresses and is married to a grandson of a former Mexican president, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. She has starred in novelas that include “Lo Que La Vida Me Robó” (What Life Stole from Me), “Me Declaro Culpable” (I Plead Guilty), and “Mujer, Casos de la Vida Real” (Woman, Real Life Cases).

Flanked by her lawyers at the news conference, Castro wiped away tears and said the ordeal was the “most difficult experience of my life.” She chided some media outlets who she said humiliated or “crucified” her over the false allegations.

“I am innocent and an injustice was committed,” Castro said. “I am a mother, who has worked hard 32 years. I have a career that many of you know has been impeccable.”

“I also want to make clear that I am not a kleptomaniac, I am not sick of anything … this affected me emotionally more than you can imagine,” she said. “What hurt me the most was the terrible harm that it caused my family, the harm it did to me, but above all else, the harm it did to my children.”

Castro’s attorneys also faulted Saks and its loss prevention officer, Dennis Joseph Belmonte, for the way they handled the matter.

“Saks didn’t care,” Fassold and Cabañas said. “They detained her in an office, handcuffed her...and searched her in front of unknown persons, touching her private parts, under her clothes, and during all this, she cried and said she had paid, but they did not care.”

The lawyers added that the suit was filed to ensure this does not happen to anyone else.

“I will take this case in front of jurors and explain to them that no one can take the dignity of a person,” Fassold said. “You just don’t do that.”

The manager of Saks OFF 5th at The Rim has declined comment. A corporate spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Belmonte, who is also named as a defendant, could not be reached for comment.

The suit claims Belmonte wrongly accused Castro of stealing clothing items worth up to $700, causing her an unnecessary trip through Bexar County’s criminal justice system.

The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for dinging Castro’s reputation, causing emotional distress and for her expenses in having to clear her name.

Guillermo Contreras covers federal court and immigration news in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | gcontreras@express-news.net | Twitter: @gmaninfedland

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