Doris Payne has an addiction. No matter how many times she goes to prison, she just won’t stop stealing.
On Tuesday, the notorious jewel thief struck again.
Doris Payne, 86, was arrested at a Von Maur department store, in Atlanta, Georgia, after she put a $1,995 diamond necklace in her back pocket and tried to leave the store.
Last October, she was arrested in Atlanta after she allegedly took a pair of $690 Christian Dior earrings from Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza.
At the time, Payne was wanted in North Carolina after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said she stole a $33,000 David Yurman engagement ring from a local mall. She still has not been arrested in connection with that incident, police said.
Payne is in the DeKalb County Jail on a charge of theft by shoplifting, according to records.
Authorities have said Payne has lifted pricey baubles from countless jewelry stores around the world in an illicit career that has spanned six decades. The legend of Payne’s alleged thefts have long fascinated the public and media, with countless news stories and a 2013 documentary film, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” detailing her feats.
“I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelry,” she said in the documentary. “I regret getting caught.”
When asked about her exploits in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this year, she said simply: “I was a thief.”
Court papers in Atlanta reference six cases prior to the alleged theft last year, mostly in southern California, dating to 1999.
Authorities have said she has used at least 22 aliases over the years and probably got away more often than she was caught, though she has done several stints in prison. The Jewelers’ Security Alliance, an industry trade group, sent out bulletins as early as the 1970s warning about her.
A childhood incident when a friendly store owner let her try on watches and then forgot she had it on when another customer entered planted the seed in her mind that a simple distraction could make it easy to slip out with a fancy trinket in hand, she told the AP. She said that when she was in her 20s, she got the idea that she could support herself that way.
Watch a preview of the “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne” below: