Stores aim to ban Doris Payne, 86-year-old jewel thief

Gabrielle Bluestone

Gabrielle Bluestone

As for her California connections, Payne had been on probation for felony theft in a Los Angeles case when the crime in Palm Desert occurred on October 21, 2013.

In this week's Georgia case, Payne tried to swipe a Lagos diamond necklace by concealing it "in her pocket before exiting the store without paying for the necklace", police said.

She was busted after slipping a pair of earrings into her pokcet at a Christian Dior store inside Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza.

When asked about her exploits in the interview with The Associated Press earlier this year, she said simply: "I was a thief".

In 2013, Payne talked about her extensive history as a jewel thief in a documentary, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne".

"According to my research, when she was 20 year old, she started committing crimes", said Atlanta Police Sgt. Warren Pickard.

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"The judge tempered punishment with compassion about her age", one of her attorneys, Gretchen von Helms, said at the time. At the time, she also had an active warrant in North Carolina for similar charges which kept her under a hold in the county jail, said her attorney, Shawn McCullers. "The people in charge dictate what happens with me when I walk in the store", she said. Payne told the station.

In 2013, she walked out of a Palm Desert jeweler with a $22,500 white gold ring, just three months after being released from custody in the San Diego crime. "She was stopped and detained by loss prevention officers until she was arrested and taken into custody by Dunwoody Police Department Officers".

Payne was raised in West Virginia and moved with her family to OH when she was a teenager.

Over the decades she has developed a pattern of serving short sentences, getting out for good behavior and getting right back to her next heist.

Payne told the AP she realized a simple distraction could make it easy to slip out with a fancy trinket in hand after a friendly store owner let her try on watches as a child and then forgot she had the jewelry on. "I don't tell a person in the store I want to see something that costs $10,000".

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