Doris Payne, 86-year old jewel thief, arrested again

Doris Payne's crimes date back to the 1950s
Doris Payne’s crimes date back to the 1950s

An 86-year-old serial US jewel thief, whose crimes date back to the 1950s, has again been charged with theft.

Doris Payne was arrested at a Walmart store in Chamblee, in Georgia, with $86.22 (£66) worth of items, police say. She has been released on bail.

She was found wearing an ankle monitor from a previous arrest for shoplifting.

Payne has served multiple jail terms for her crimes. She is thought to have stolen $2m in jewellery and was profiled in a 2013 documentary.

A shop employee observed her stealing several items from the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments.

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Her lawyer, Drew Findling, was quoted by local media as saying: “This is a sharp contrast to all the cases in the past. We’re not talking about high-end jewellery.

“We’re talking about what an 86-year-old woman needs to survive on a day-to-day basis, food supplies and medical supplies.”

She had recently pleaded guilty of stealing a $2,000 diamond necklace from a department store in a suburb of Atlanta.

Doris Payne arrested in 1965

She was then sentenced to house arrest and banned from shopping centres in the city’s area.

Officials say she has used at least 22 aliases since she stole her first diamond when she was a 23-year-old, and probably got away with far more than she was convicted of.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance, an industry trade group, sent bulletins warning stores about her as early as the 1970s.

In a 2005 prison interview with the Associated Press, Payne said it was never about the money: “I’ve had regrets, and I’ve had a good time.”

Payne’s career as an international jewel thief spans six decades, with a criminal record dating back to 1952.

Her modus operandi is to enter jewelry stores posing as a well-to-do woman, typically looking for a diamond ring.

Using her charm, she would engage the clerk, asking to see an assortment of items.

Eventually, she would “cause the clerk to forget” just how many items were outside the case; and, at some point, she would leave with one or two pieces.

Her crimes have spanned five decades. She has been arrested many times; she is a career criminal.

Payne is most noted for stealing a 10-carat diamond ring, valued at $500,000 (US), from Monte Carlo in the 1970s.

She fled to France, but was detained in Nice and later extradited back to Monte Carlo, where she was held for nine months before being released, as the Monégasque authorities were unable to locate the stolen gem.

Payne was arrested in Ohio in the 1980s after she escaped from federal custody during a hospital visit.

On Friday, January 22, 2010, Payne was arrested in Costa Mesa, California for removing the tags from a $1,300 Burberry trench coat from a Saks Fifth Avenue store and subsequently leaving the store with the coat.

In January 2011, at the age of 80, Doris was sentenced in a San Diego court to 16 months in prison for stealing a 1 carat diamond ring.

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