Famed Jewelry Thief, 85, Allegedly Caught Trying to Steal High-End Earrings: Cops

Doris Payne, 85, has been connected to 20 aliases, nine birth dates and once gave her occupation as "jewel thief" in court papers.

A reputed international jewel thief who has been stealing pricy baubles for more than half a century was allegedly up to her old tricks as she was busted for pocketing jewelry at an Atlanta department store, officials said.

Doris Payne, 85, was allegedly caught on video walk out of Saks Fifth Avenue after slipping a $690 pair of Christian Dior earrings in her pocket, Atlanta Police said to WSB-TV on Monday.

“She put them in her pocket and politely walked out of the store,” Sgt. Warren Pickard told the TV station.

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The slight octogenarian, who according to jail records stands 5-foot-5 and weighs 110 pounds, was allegedly found at a shopping mall next door with the earrings in her pocket, officials said.

Payne was charged with theft by shoplifting and was released on Tuesday on a $2,500 surety bond, according to jail records.

Her many heists—including the theft of a 10 ½-carat diamond in Monte Carlo years ago—were the subject of the 2013 documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.”

“How does a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated 1950s America wind up as one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves? A glamorous 81-year-old Doris Payne is unapologetic today about the nearly $2 million in jewels she’s stolen over a 60-year-career as she was the day she the day she stole her first carat,” a synopsis of the film reads.

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She was most recently linked to—and is still wanted for—the theft of a $33,000 diamond-studded ring in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and faces extradition, WSB-TV said. 

Payne has been connected to 20 aliases, nine dates of birth, and five Social Security numbers. She once gave her occupation as "jewel thief" in court papers, the Daily Mail reported.

“While I’m preparing to go on a campaign, I’m preparing to play the part of somebody else,” Payne said during the documentary. “There’s never been a day that I went to steal that I did not get what I wanted. I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelry. I regret getting caught.”

Information for Payne’s attorney was not immediately available.

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