Notorious burglar Doris Thompson, 82, arrested again
Torrance Police Sgt. Robert Watt said the department is submitting evidence on eight burglaries to the district attorney's office Tuesday for possible charges against Doris Thompson. Thompson — who has 25 aliases — is being held on $80,000 bail.
Watt said Thompson targeted doctors' offices. He said she would enter an office, hide until closing and search for keys to the cash box. He said she stole about $17,000.
Thompson was arrested at an El Segundo hotel without incident, Watt said, and police found evidence linking her to the burglaries.
Watt said a detective who had dealt with Thompson identified her from a video that allegedly caught her in the act. The detective recognized her distinctive hair, which Thompson wears in a stand-on-its-end electric style similar to boxing promoter Don King.
Thompson has a 20-page rap sheet dating to 1955. Burglary appears to be her chosen career.
According to court records, Thompson has been imprisoned at least nine times for burglary in Los Angeles and Orange counties. She first spent time behind bars in 1983, when she was 53, according to the records. It's unclear why they don't go back further.
As in the current case, a security camera was Thompson's undoing two years ago, when she was caught prying open drawers with a chisel and a screwdriver at the Children's Medical Group in Torrance. She had hidden in a restroom until employees left.
Thompson took $400 in cash and checks, $25 worth of stamps, a device used to test children's hearing and a plastic urine container with a total value of about $1,400.
She was recognized by a Torrance detective who remembered her from a bulletin Beverly Hills police put out a few years earlier for a similar crime.
"That's her M.O.," Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Paulette Paccione said at the time. "What she does is she goes in with her little burglar bag. She takes cash, stamps, whatever she can find."
Although Thompson assured the court her burglarizing days were over, Paccione wasn't so sure. "I don't think this will stop her from doing this again," Paccione said back then. "She's not really apologetic about it. This is her thing."
--Jeff Gottlieb and Matt Stevens
Photo: Doris Thompson, in a February 2010 booking photo, is accused of burglarizing doctors' offices. Credit: Torrance Police Department