Doris Payne, an infamous 85-year-old jewel thief whose crimes date back more than 50 years, has been arrested after allegedly pocketing a pair of Christian Dior earrings inside a Saks Fifth Avenue store early Monday.
According to WSB-TV, who spoke to police late Monday evening, Doris Payne — the famous international jewel thief who was the subject of a 2013 documentary entitled The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne — was arrested Monday after the octogenarian slipped a pair of $690 Christian Dior earrings into her pocket from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Atlanta.
Payne was caught on security camera pocketing the earrings inside the store at the Phipps Plaza shopping center in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Police sergeant Warren Pickard from the Atlanta Police Department told WSB-TV that a loss prevention specialist observed Payne stealing the earrings, and then “politely walk[ing] out of the store.” Pickard also said that arresting officers had no idea just who they were dealing with when they arrested Doris Payne, but found out just how notorious she was after taking Payne into custody.
“I think these officers just thought it was a run of the mill shoplifting. They took the woman into custody and short time there after they get notice that another jurisdiction had a warrant for her and she was an international thief.”
Doris Payne — who, according to Sgt. Pickard, started committing crimes in her 20’s — has been tied to thefts in multiple states including California, Nevada, New York, and Colorado, as well as internationally, in Greece, England, Switzerland, and France, reports the Desert Sun. Payne’s notoriety began when she stole a 10.5-carat diamond from Monte Carlo many years ago and only increased with each subsequent large-scale theft. As previously reported by the Inquisitr in July, “Diamond” Doris Payne was wanted in North Carolina on theft charges after she allegedly pocketed a $33,000 diamond-studded engagement ring from the David Yurman store in Charlotte, North Carolina’s South Park Mall.
Following Payne’s alleged theft of the engagement ring from David Yurman, the police department alerted area jewelers to Doris’ possible involvement, sending out a mass email warning them to beware of her “sleight of hand tactic.”
“She uses the ‘sleight of hand’ tactic, Basically, she will have employees pull jewelry out of a display case. Once the employee is distracted, she quickly conceals them…. She is very good. She fooled the manager at David Yurman.”
In 2014, Doris Payne was convicted for the 2013 theft of a $22,500 diamond ring from El Paseo jewelers in Palm Desert, and she was ordered to serve half of her four-year sentence behind bars. At the time of the October 2013 theft, Payne was still on probation for a theft she committed in Los Angeles, and the arrest was just three years after her conviction in San Diego.
In the documentary bearing her name, Doris Payne was interviewed about her long list of jewel heists. When asked if she regretted any of her thefts, her answer wasn’t exactly surprising, given “Diamond” Doris’ exploits go all the way back to the mid-1950s, and her first mugshots date back to the 1960s.
“I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelery. I regret getting caught.
Doris Payne may look like a sweet grandmother, but with an arrest record a mile long, the elderly jewel thief is anything but. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her share of supporters as dozens of people have taken to Twitter demanding that Atlanta police “free Doris Payne.” That’s unlikely to happen, however, as police officials say she also has a warrant out for her arrest in North Carolina. Payne is currently awaiting trial in Fulton County, and her lawyer says she is in good spirits, but Doris is having some health issues.
[Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]