'Cat Woman' Robber Convicted for Less-Than-Purrfect Crime Spree

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 15, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A woman convicted in connection with a "Cat Woman" robbery could spend some of her remaining nine lives in prison.

Shanna Spalding, 29, of Astoria, N.Y., drew notoriety after a police sketch of her silly "Cat Woman" robbery disguise spread around the Internet. The New York Post has posted the police sketch here.

The "Cat Woman robber" moniker is a far cry from Spalding's other persona -- she performs as "Purgatory" when she's singing for her death-metal garage band "Divine Infamy."

"She is a performer with a penchant for dress-up and fantasy," the prosecutor told jurors before they convicted Spalding on Tuesday.

Police say Purgatory, aka the Cat Woman robber, rocked Manhattan's upscale SoHo neighborhood with a series of stick-ups last year.

First, Spalding held up staff at a high-end shoe store while wearing her cat mask. The next day, she held up a Body Shop store in a full-length burka and imitating an Arabic accent, the Post reports.

Two months later, Spalding tied a black scarf around her head and tried to rob a sportswear store with a BB gun, the New York Daily News reports. The cashier couldn't open the cash box, so Spalding fled on foot -- only to be nabbed by police who noticed her strange outfit.

Though Spalding is commonly referred to as the "Cat Woman burglar," that's technically incorrect. Spalding was actually charged with and convicted of robbery -- using force to commit theft. (Burglary just requires a break-in with an illegal intent.)

In her defense, Spalding told jurors she was forced to commit the robberies by a kidnapper named "Angel Martinez." Duress is a defense to robbery, but jurors didn't buy it. Investigators found no evidence that "Martinez" even existed.

The Cat Woman robber now faces up to 22 years in prison for her less-than-purrfect crimes. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.

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