Doris Payne has lived the life worthy of a major motion picture. She has been a notorious jewel thief since the early 1950s when she stole a diamond ring and fenced it to deliver her mother from an abusive relationship with her father. From that moment, Payne’s criminal career has taken her on heists across across the globe, amassing millions in stolen bling. Her exploits have not gone unpunished. She has done several stints in jails here and abroad. She has not kept track of how many times she’s been knocked, according to her 2013 documentary, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, but the lady is no stranger to the penal system. Her last bid was a short stay n California for the theft of a 3.5 carat ring worth $22,500 (she was released early due to overcrowding). That doesn’t mean she’s fine with going to the slammer. According to CNBC, Payne will be fighting the latest theft charges filed against her in Atlanta. “I look forward to my day in court,” says the legendary jewel thief.
At the age of 85, Payne was busted on October 23rd. An Atlanta Saks Fifth Avenue’s loss prevention personnel allegedly peeped her using her fluent sleight of hand technique to swipe a pair of $690 Christian Dior earrings. Payne booked into Fulton County Jail for theft of by shoplifting greater than $500. The authorities also learned that Payne was also wanted in North Carolina for the theft of a $33,000 David Yurman engagement ring. She was released from Fulton County Jail on $2,500 bond.
Payne plans to fight the charges and stay out of jail. Her lawyer, Scott McCullers, feels that the elderly icon is being targeted due to the aforementioned documentary that shone the spotlight on her. “This issue may simply be someone seeking to enhance their name because of the recent recognition she received,” said McCullers. “They were initially interested in charging her with trespassing. Once it was known who she was, it was turned into something else.” He claims that Payne was simply visiting Atlanta, as she spends her golden years traveling, in spite of undisclosed “health issues.”
Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Warren Pickard refused to respond to McCullers’ allegations, but says that the arrestng officers didn’t know who Payne was until they learned of the North Carolina incident.
The Atlanta charges are still pending against Payne. She also faces extradition to North Carolina for her suspected theft there. Of her career, Payne said in 2005, “I’ve had regrets, and I’ve had a good time.”