80-year-old jewelry thief admits stealing $16,000 ring
Doris Payne, whose has been convicted of swiping jewelry around the globe, was convicted of grand theft and sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham to 16 months in prison. Payne’s sentence, however, will run concurrently with her five-year sentence for slipping out of a San Diego-area Macy's department store with another diamond ring, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Heather Steggell.
She said she had no idea how many jewels she had stolen but that her career as a thief had spanned five decades. She said she honed her craft from New York and Las Vegas to London, Paris, Monte Carlo and Tokyo.
The targets were always the finest stores, she said, where she would blend in, tell a great story and take advantage of deep pockets in the clothing she wore. She would distract the sales staff as she tried on various rings and then when they were not looking slip the ring off her finger. She would insure the salesperson then saw her naked finger.
In time, improvements in security technology caught up with Payne. But even then it would sometimes take stores days to work out who stole the items. Still, her life story has even attracted a potential Hollywood movie.
Payne, according to San Diego prosecutors, spent most of her life "doing nothing but stealing high-end jewelry."
Photo: Doris Payne is shown during her incarceration at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. She is now being held at the Orange County Jail. Credit: Nathan W. Armes / For The Times