A California millionaire and his wife spent Monday night in the District Jail after being arrested and charged with stealing a $10,000 mink coat.
Kenneth K. Kines, the 62-year-old California builder, hotel owner and Washington party-crasher who once tried to pass himself off as the "Honorary Ambassador" of the 1976 U.S. Bicentential, and his 36-year-old wife Shante Singhrs Kimes, were arrested by third district detectives at 2 a.m. after a woman claimed that a "lady who looked like Elizabeth Taylor" had walked awya from the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel with her three-quarter-length mink coat.
In an interview last night at the Capital Hilton, where the Kimes had quickly relocated after being released from jail yesterday in the custody of their lawyer, they vigorously denied any knowledge of the theft.
"I've been trying to tell everyone," said Shante Kimes, her rhinestone-trimmed glass reflecting the soft lobby light, "it was my coat that was stolen."
Police say it all started at 1:30 Monday night, when a woman told them that another woman -- the Liz Taylor lookalike -- had come into the Mayflower lobby bar, placed a fur coat on top of her own, picked up both coats and then walked away.
After consulting with the manager and other hotel employes, police went to the Kimes' seventha floor room, and after a search carted the two off to the D.C. jail.
"It was awful," said Shante Kimes, "they handcuffed us, frisked us and then put us in these little greenbarred closets that had a toilet with no seat."
They were finally released at 5 p.m. yesterday. But even though the Kimes said they knew an undersecretary of the United Nations and that Kenneth has an appointment with President Carter scheduled for yesterday -- later learned to the a VIP tour of the White Houses -- D.C. Superior Court Judge Sheila Bowers refused to release the Kimes on personal recognizance. They were finally released after their butler testified to their $12 million assets and their attorney, William Burleson, said he would vouch for them.
Shante Kimes said she had checked her own full-length brown ranch mink -- one of four she had brought on her trip to Washington -- at The Carvery restaurant in the hotel on Sunday, and then had forgotten to pick it up. When she tried to get it on Monday evening, the manager brought out another mink "not nearly the quality of my own."
An argument ensued, and she called the copa at about 10 p.m. After a while, she agreed to come to third district headquarters the next day and file a missing-fur report.
At about 2 a.m., she said, "the police forced their way in our room. . . . I had been asleep, I was stark naked, any they pushed me around and started searching all over the room. I said we knew nothing . . . They finally took us and my remaining furs down to the station. . . ."
"It's an outrage," she said. "To think that I would need to steal someone's fur."