Doris Payne, 86, is one of the most notorious international jewelry thieves in the world. Although she is nearly 90 years old, the elderly woman is reportedly still living a life of crime. On Tuesday, Doris was arrested and charged with shoplifting at the Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, Georgia. According to reports, the infamous thief attempted to steal a $2,000 bracelet from Von Maur.
A native of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Doris Payne was the daughter of a coal miner.
In a January 2016 interview with the Daily Beast, Doris admitted she “had all the things every little girl had.” However, she was still compelled to steal. In her own words, “It was all in fun.”
During the interview, Doris Payne revealed the first thing she ever stole was a gold watch from a jewelry store in Cleveland, Ohio. Although she eventually returned the valuable timepiece, the incident opened her eyes to her “talent” for distracting salespersons and ultimately stealing millions of dollars worth of valuable jewelry.
Doris said she initially sold the stolen jewelry to drug dealers and pawn shops. However, she had better luck selling to people who were not career criminals. Payne claims “Cleveland Indian baseball players” were some of her best clients.
After perfecting her system of distracting shopkeepers while she stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of gold and jewels, she traveled abroad to expand her operation.
“I read a lot about the war. I knew how to get out of France or any country, if you know what I mean… We had to know every county, every state, and every country. We had to know the judicial system.”
According to reports, Doris Payne used dozens of aliases and “multiple Social Security numbers” in an attempt to avoid detection. However, despite her best efforts, she was ultimately caught, and arrested, on numerous occasions.
In addition to dozens of arrests throughout Europe, Doris was arrested in the United States nearly a dozen times.
Although she has been in and out of jail numerous times throughout her “career,” Doris Payne is reportedly still stealing.
As reported by USA Today, Payne was arrested in 2015 and charged with stealing a pair of earrings from the Phipps Plaza Saks Fifth Avenue store The earrings were estimated to be worth $700.
During a November 2015 hearing, Doris’ attorney Shawn McCullers argued that his client was simply too frail to appear in court. McCullers suggested appearing in court would cause Payne “more harm” and would likely cause her to become “more sick” that she already was. However, one year later, the notorious thief was arrested once again.
My AJC reports Doris Payne was arrested on Tuesday and charged with theft. According to reports, she stole a pair of earrings estimated to be worth nearly $2,000.
Although she has stolen an estimated $2 million worth of gold and jewelry over the last 70 years, Doris was living in a hotel room at the time of her arrest. Despite the fact that she apparently spent all the money she “earned” as a career criminal, and has nothing to show for it,
Despite the fact that she apparently spent all the money she “earned” as a career criminal, and has nothing to show for it, Payne said the only thing she regrets is “getting caught.”
It is unclear whether Doris will be sentenced to jail time once again or whether she will instead be outfitted with an ankle monitor. Although she seems to be compelled to steal, despite the threat of punishment, Payne’s attorney said she responds well to consistent monitoring.
Doris Payne is currently being held in Georgia’s DeKalb County Jail.
[Featured Image by Jae C. Hong/AP Images]