San Diego

86-Year-Old Notorious Jewel Thief Doris Payne Charged With Walmart Theft

Payne once faced charges in San Diego and Palm Desert

An 86-year-old international jewel thief who previously faced charges in San Diego has struck again while wearing an ankle bracelet from a previous bust.

Police said Doris Payne was arrested Monday for allegedly shoplifting at a Walmart in Atlanta.

"Thieving was the farthest thing from my mind," she told NBC News in a phone interview Tuesday.

Her career as an international bling bandit spans six decades. Payne said she took some medicine that confused her before she went shopping.

"It causes me to forget," she said. Payne claims that she didn't have a basket and dropped the items in a shopping bag.

A security officer at Walmart said he saw Payne pile items in her purse and then transfer other items from her shopping cart to her purse and a bag.

The guard caught Payne as she was about to exit the store with the items that totaled $86.22.

Payne was booked into the City of Chamblee Jail, booked on a shoplifting charge and released. The stolen items were returned to the store.

She previously put a $2,000 necklace in her back pocket at a Von Maur department store in Dunwoody, Georgia, and tried to leave the store, according to the police report.

By her own admission, Payne has been stealing jewelry from high-end stores around the world for six decades. She once faced charges in San Diego and Palm Desert.

In January 2011, Payne was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing a $8,900 diamond ring from the Macy’s in San Diego’s Fashion Valley.

Previously, she was arrested on suspicion of stealing a $690 pair of earrings from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.

She was the subject of a 2013 documentary, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne."

When asked about her exploits in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this year, she said simply: "I was a thief." Online jail records did not show any bond information, and it wasn't immediately clear whether Payne had an attorney who could comment.

Raised in West Virginia, Payne chose her “profession” at the age of 23. Her arrest record is longer than she can remember. Payne has served time in California, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Colorado, and Wisconsin.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us