WINONA RYDER LOOKING FOR A STEAL -- AT FLEA MARKET

Published on: January 18, 2002

Just weeks after being busted on felony shoplifting charges, Winona Ryder proved she can get clothes for a steal -- by shopping at a flea market.

The "Girl, Interrupted" star was recently spotted rifling through racks of secondhand duds at a popular Hollywood flea market -- and walked away with a bag full of clothes she didn't pay for.

No, Winona wasn't shoplifting. Instead, when the actress found items she wanted, she did something truly bizarre: She reached into her purse for cash, and gave it to a friend to pay the merchants for her.

"Winona has some of the strangest shopping habits I've ever seen!" an eyewitness told The ENQUIRER.

Local cops came to that same conclusion after the star's December 12 excursion to Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills -- where they busted her for allegedly shoplifting $4,760 worth of merchandise and possessing painkilling drugs without a prescription.

Her lawyer termed the incident a "misunderstanding" -- claiming she has receipts and prescriptions.

Despite that embarrassing outing, the actress remains an avid shopper.

She behaved "like a kid in a candy store" while at the flea market, divulged the eyewitness.

"During the hour-long shopping spree with her friend, Winona strolled from one vendor to the next and dug through piles and piles of used clothes.

"But every time she found something that caught her eye, she handed her friend a wad of cash to pay the merchants.

"Winona bought nearly a dozen pieces of clothing and accessories -- but did not pay for a single one of them herself.

"When they finished shopping, the two girls walked away with an entire bag filled with clothes -- and Winona was grinning from ear to ear."