MIAMI -- Felicidad Noriega, wife of the deposed Panamanian dictator, is accused of a crime: Snatching buttons off jackets at a mall boutique.
Two store detectives on the shoplifting detail said they watched two women yank 27 buttons off 10 jackets Friday.
The pair put the buttons in a bag, "walked past numerous cash registers" and left, the security people said. On the sidewalk, the detectives stopped the women and summoned police.
Why buttons? No one was talking. Not the store, not the police, not the accused.
The buttons were in different shapes and sizes, valued at $305. Police said yanking them off ruined $1,242 in clothing.
Police took Mrs. Noriega, 46, and Rosa Busto, 50, into custody and charged them with third-degree grand theft.
They spent the night in jail before posting $1,500 cash bonds.
Mrs. Noriega, in town attending her husband's drug trial, told reporters in court yesterday that the incident had been blown out of proportion.
"There was nothing," she said. "It's just rumors."