Career jewel thief Doris Payne, 83, allegedly hits Palm Desert store


An 83-year-old woman who claims to be an international jewel thief with a five-decade career was back behind bars Wednesday after allegedly stealing a ring from a jewelry store in Palm Desert.
Doris Marie Payne was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of felony larceny, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The theft allegedly occurred on Oct. 21 at a shop on El Paseo Drive.

The octogenarian, who is the subject of the documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” has been jailed in several states.

PHOTOS: 83-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne


In a 2008 story in The Times, Payne told a reporter she stole her first diamond in her late 20s, hoping to raise money to help her mother leave an abusive husband. From there, she never looked back.

Payne said she had no idea how many jewels she had stolen but that her career as a thief had spanned the globe from New York and Las Vegas to London, Paris, Monte Carlo and Tokyo.

The formula was simple, she said. Pick a fine store and look like she belonged there. Tell a great story. And, make sure she had pockets, deep pockets, with whatever she wore.

In June 2011 she pleaded no contest to stealing a $16,000 ring from a Santa Monica store for which she received a sentence of 16 months in prison.

Payne was also found guilty in January 2011 of stealing an $8,900 ring from a San Diego Macy’s and was sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison.


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