Doris Payne has a taste for fine jewelry. Always has, in fact — to the point where she’s gone on an unparalleled lifetime crime spree that spans three continents and more than 50 years. Her criminal exploits are so remarkable that in 2013, a documentary was made about Payne, in which she discussed her motivations and even some of her techniques. “There’s never been a day that I went to steal that I did not get what I wanted to do,” she declares in the film, the trailer for which you can watch below. Payne’s strategy for thievery was tried and true and included dressing smartly, carrying designer apparel and handbags and an arsenal of compelling stories with which to regale — and distract — jewelry salespeople.
Payne, who later in life became known as the “granny thief,” has knocked off jewelry stores in New York City, London, Paris, and Tokyo, among others. She made her first heist as a 23-year-old in Pittsburgh, absconding with a diamond valued at $22,000. A decade ago, after being caught in the act, she reportedly said she was giving up the criminal life. But, the diamonds’ sparkle seems to have caught Payne’s eye once again. Authorities in Atlanta say a security guard at an upscale mall was watching a surveillance monitor when he noticed Payne pilfer a pair of earrings from a Christian Dior boutique. They nabbed her and after booking her realized there was a warrant for her arrest out in North Carolina on similar charges.
One security expert marveled at her longevity and persistence. “It’s extraordinarily rare for a criminal to have that lengthy of a career,” John J. Kennedy told The Associated Press. “Usually they either stop because they have enough money and they don’t want the risk anymore, or they’re dead.”
Read the full story at The Associated Press.