Famous 86-Year-Old Thief Freed Following Latest Charges in Georgia

Famous 86-Year-Old Thief Freed Following Latest Charges in Georgia


Palm Desert, CA

An 86-year-old jewel thief whose decades of exploits include crimes at home and abroad — including the 2013 theft of a diamond ring from a Palm Desert store — is out of custody again following two recent brushes with the law in Georgia.

Doris Payne is accused of stealing $86.22 worth of stolen items from a Walmart in Chamblee, Georgia, but was released last Friday after a judge revoked her probation stemming from a necklace theft from earlier this year. Payne was wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet when she was arrested at the Walmart.

That arrest came about six months after she tried to steal a necklace valued at nearly $2,000 from the Von Maur jewelry store at the Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. Payne was sentenced in Dekalb County Superior Court to three years probation in addition to house arrest, and was banned from malls in the Atlanta area for that crime.

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Payne’s six-decade criminal career, which was detailed in a 2013 documentary, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” includes a conviction for swiping a 3.5-carat, $22,500 ring from El Paseo Jewelers in Palm Desert.

She had been on probation for felony theft in a Los Angeles case when the crime in Palm Desert occurred on Oct. 21, 2013. The ring she stole was recovered at a second-hand jewelry dealer in Palm Desert the following month.

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Riverside County sheriff’s detectives identified Payne in the El Paseo case using images captured a few days before at a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Palm Desert, where a security guard recognized her from a 2010 theft arrest.

In April 2014, Payne pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary and grand theft and was sentenced to four years in custody and was to serve half of the time in jail and the other half under supervision. However, Payne met the criteria to be "fed-kicked” — released because of jail overcrowding — and was let out of a Riverside County jail on July 8, 2014, and turned over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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She last appeared in a Riverside County courtroom in October 2014 for violating the terms of her probation, with her lawyer claiming Payne did not intentionally fail to report to a probation officer, but was confused between the terms of her two probations.

She was also scheduled for an Indio court hearing in August 2015 for again violating her probation but failed to appear, leading a judge to issue a warrant for her arrest. Along with thefts in Greece, France, Britain and Switzerland, Payne has convictions for crimes committed in Santa Monica, San Diego and Costa Mesa.