Rafael Olmeda and Linda Trischitta  Reporters South Florida Sun Sentinel

Veteran Broward prosecutor Stacey Honowitz stuck $42.93 worth of mascara, lipstick and other cosmetics into her purse and tried to walk out of Publix without paying for them, police say.

A security guard saw her. It was caught on camera. And now she’s been charged with a misdemeanor.

Honowitz, 56, was stopped Saturday leaving the Publix at 18995 Biscayne Blvd. in Aventura, according to a police report. She was suspended from her $108,000-a-year job Monday.

Her lawyer, Miami attorney Jayne Weintraub, called it a big misunderstanding.

Honowitz had been shopping with her parents and daughter Saturday and spent $124.16 on groceries. “She inadvertently did not pay for the cosmetics when she checked out,” Weintraub said. “She did not even leave the store after she paid. She then purchased lottery tickets and was chatting with another customer. There was no intent to commit a crime at all.”

Honowitz, a supervisor in the sex crimes and child abuse unit, has built a reputation over 30 years as a tenacious prosecutor and advocate for victim’s rights. She appears frequently on national news and commentary shows to discuss crime stories, child safety and related issues.

“She is highly regarded and respected in the legal community for her honesty and professionalism,” said former prosecutor David Frankel, who has known Honowitz for more than 30 years. “She has never been afraid to fight for the rights of children in an area most people would rather not know anything about. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of children who are safer and whose lives are better because of her.”

Honowitz has self-published two books aimed at educating children about avoiding molestation: “My Privates are Private” and “Genius With a Penis: Don’t Touch.”

A spokeswoman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office said Honowitz will be paid using her vacation time during her suspension until her office’s administrative investigation is complete.

She has accumulated more than four weeks of vacation and personal leave time.

The shoplifting charge is a misdemeanor that will be handled by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Police did not take Honowitz into custody, but she was given a “promise to appear” ticket and allowed to go home with the groceries she purchased.

The beauty products were returned to the store.