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

Infamous 86-year-old jewel thief arrested in Chamblee
Infamous 86-year-old jewel thief arrested once again
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20 July, 2017

The 86-year-old serial thief, with a crime record dating back to the 1950s, was arrested at a Walmart store in Chamblee, Georgia on Monday (17 July) after she was caught stuffing items worth $86.22 (£66) into her bag.

Payne was raised in West Virginia and moved with her family to OH when she was a teenager.

An employee watched the 86-year-old jewel thief snap up items in the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments, police said.

Payne was placed on house arrest and banned from shopping malls in March for stealing a $2,000 diamond necklace in 2016 - while out on bond for yet another shoplifting case.

Payne developed charm and fast thinking as her greatest weapon, retired Denver Police detective Gail Riddell told the AP.

"We called and talked to (officials in North Carolina) and they decided they wouldn't extradite her, which is often the case for a bunch of reasons", McCullers said in an earlier interview with the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.

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Gretchen Von Helms, a California attorney who has represented Payne, said her former client's diminutive appearance and her age betray her "smarts".

She was found wearing an ankle monitor from a previous arrest for shoplifting. Payne's alleged thefts had always been of interest to the media and thus a 2013 documentary film titled, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne" was made on her detailing her heists and arrests.

Doris Payne's likeness-or, more specifically, her mugshot-has become nationally known over the years as she continues to rack up arrests into her eighth decade.

She was arrested again in Atlanta for trying to swipe a $700 pair or Christian Dior earrings from Phipps Plaza. As she tried to exit the store, she was apprehended. Payne said she took some medicine that confused her before she went shopping.

Her scheme at jewelry stores was to pose as a wealthy woman that was charming and friendly.

In the documentary, she revealed how she first learned her trademark distraction trick as a teenager when a store clerk eagerly ditched her when a white customer came in. "I regret getting caught".


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