The woman, who prosecutors say has used 36 different names, was indicted Tuesday as Katherine Kelly.
A criminal complaint charged Kelly with grand larceny and attempted grand larceny after her arrest in a Manhattan supermarket Oct. 15. It said she took a wallet, left by police as bait, from a shopping cart. An officer recovered the wallet from Kelly's "bra area," it said.
Undercover police also saw her trying to steal from several shoppers by reaching inside their bags, the complaint said. A judge scheduled a Nov. 17 arraignment.
Kelly's lawyer, James Neilson, stressed that she not been convicted in this case and wouldn't comment on her past arrests. Asked if he thought Kelly was mentally disturbed, Neilson replied, "that's something we're going to find out."
The district attorney's office said Kelly's criminal record dates from Dec. 21, 1971, when she was arrested as Charlotte Martinelli and charged with forgery.
Office spokeswoman Tracy Golden did not know how the case was resolved but said the various arrests, most of them in Brooklyn, have resulted in at least 16 convictions over the years. Most of the charges were felonies that were pleaded down to misdemeanors, she said.
Prosecutors are investigating the woman's true identity, Golden said. Although Kelly has given police 26 birth dates, her office is listing her as 76 because that conforms to the date she gave with her latest arrest.
Kelly gave her address as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Golden said. That's the address of the White House in Washington, but she gave the city as Brooklyn, where there is no such street address.
Golden noted that the woman has been arrested under 36 names, including Robin Shapiro, Antoinette Lombardi, Mildred Friedman, Sylvia McGuire, Victoria Velloti and Charlotte Petrovas. The aliases tend to be old-fashioned - no Tracys, Whitneys or Britneys.