Doris Payne is one smooth criminal. The infamous 84-year-old jewel thief is believed to have stolen a $33,000 engagement ring from the David Yurman store inside the upscale SouthPark mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. In an email ​​​​​the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent to local stores, officers say that Payne uses a sleight of hand trick. “Basically, she will have employees pull jewelry out of a display case. Once the employee is distracted, she quickly conceals them. She is very good. She fooled the manager at David Yurman,” the email stated.

Payne may have been using the alias Amy Dillard, according to People. She was first spotted by a Tiffany & Co. employee who attempted to warn the David Yurman store, but Payne had already swiped the goods. “Doris Payne is certainly infamous and she is a fascinating woman,” said Dovy Klarberg, vice president of Diamonds Direct, a jewelry store located across the mall. Payne’s cunning thievery is internationally known. She is believed to have stolen up to $2 million in jewels over the past 60 years, throughout the world, including Greece, Switzerland, Britain and France.

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Last year, Payne was sentenced to four years for stealing a 3.5-carat, $22,500 ring in Riverside County, California. She was set to serve half of the time in jail and the other under mandatory supervision, but was released only three months later due to overcrowding, reports the Charlotte Observer. “She is a fascinating character. Payne is infamous in our industry, certainly someone to watch, and someone who is interesting to watch,” Klarberg said. A documentary called The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne was released in 2013 and Halle Berry was once set to portray Payne in a movie about her life. Klarberg continued, “Certainly, her age and her persona would never lend you any hints that she was a world-famous jewelry thief.”


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

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