Renee Alway appears in Indio court

INDIO, Calif. - A 27-year-old former ``America's Next Top Model'' finalist suspected of breaking into a Palm Springs residence appeared in court today.

Renee Diane Alway of Palm Springs was arrested on June 28 after someone reported a ``suspicious female'' in the area and arriving officers found an open back door at a residence in the 600 block of Violeta Drive, Palm Springs police Sgt. Harvey Reed said.

Alway, who finished in the top three of Cycle 8 of ``Top Model,'' which aired in 2007, appeared this afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, her head mostly shaved except the front. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Anthony Villalobos scheduled a drug court evaluation and felony settlement conference for Friday, and asked Alway if she understood how drug court worked and was sure she wanted to participate. She said yes.

Villalobos told Alway -- who is in custody in lieu of $150,000 bail -- that if she was released and didn't return to court Friday, he would issue a bench warrant.

Alway is implicated in four criminal cases -- three filed this month and one in June -- with felony and misdemeanor charges that include burglary, intent to defraud, receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, grand theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to court records.

Reed said officers found Alway hiding in the garage on Violeta, allegedly with a gun, on June 28.

``Officers were informed that the residents were out of the country and that the property should be vacant,'' he said.

He said officers previously thought an armed man was in the residence, and Palm Springs and Cathedral City police sent SWAT officers. Later that night, after the residence was searched, authorities concluded no one else was inside, Reed said.

Alway was being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, according to jail records.

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