Notorious 86-year-old jewel thief strikes again
Here’s a reminder that getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love. Just take Doris Payne, who was arrested again for allegedly stealing a $2,000 necklace from the Von Maur department store in the Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, Georgia. Payne is 86 years old and has been doing this her entire life. She’s the definition of #CantStopWontStop. A 2013 documentary about her called The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne documented her bad habit of stealing jewelry, which dates back to the 1970s.
In the documentary, Payne says, “I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelry. I regret getting caught.” No regrets, people; live with no regrets. The documentary reveals that Payne has stolen about $2 million in jewels all over the United States, in Paris, and in Tokyo over the course of her life. She really gets around.
She’s done time for her crimes in the past and been arrested 20 times in all, but it’s anyone’s guess how many times she’s gotten away with it. Payne was on probation for another theft when she grabbed a 10.5 carat diamond ring from Cartier, a three stone diamond and platinum ring from Neiman Marcus, and a pair of $690 Christian Dior earrings from Saks Fifth Avenue in Georgia.
She told the AP earlier this year that she doesn’t “dictate” what happens when she walks into a store. “I don’t tell a person in the store I want to see something that costs $10,000. They make those decisions based on how I present myself and how I look.” It really is all about how she looks. At 86, she’s about 135 pounds and just over five feet tall, so it’s likely she goes under the radar for being a “sweet old lady.”
Her lawyers claim her age and chronic emphysema has led to judges giving her light sentences, since she’s a nonviolent offender and they insist she’s not forceful. She just slips the jewels into her handbag and walks away. Once, a California judge called her “the Terminator,” while sentencing her. Get it? Because she’s likely “to be back.” It’s like even the justice system is mildly amused by her life of crime.
Her lawyers are sort of obsessed with her, too. “I continue to represent her because she is my client and I enjoy her. She is elderly and ill, and everyone has a right to be represented,” Payne’s attorney, Gretchen Von Helms, told CNN. “Aside from her activities she is a wonderful person with a lot of fun stories.”
I would pay good money to hear those stories, which include using about 22 aliases since she started stealing. Payne alleges that it all started when she was young and a salesman put a watch on her wrist, which she forgot was on when she walked out of the store. From then on, she was hooked.
Let’s just let Payne live her life (and maybe let your sales people know about her if you run a jewelry counter).