An elderly professional jewelry thief is suspected of lifting a $33,000 diamond-studded ring from a Charlotte, North Carolina, mall. She’s not expected to be easy to track down.
The theft took place at a David Yurman store inside SouthPark mall on July 11, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg police. Authorities have not commented on who the suspects are in this case, but the department did send a warning to jewelry stores in the area about Doris Payne, an 84-year-old woman who has been a serial jewelry thief since the 1950s.
“She uses the ‘sleight of hand tactic,’ ” the email read, according to the New York Daily News. “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.”
Payne is known for swiping merchandise from all over the world. She has been continuously thrown in jail for her thievery. Most recently, Payne was arrested last year for trespassing in a San Francisco jewelry store, but was quickly released, and she was apprehended in 2013 for stealing a $22,500 ring in Palm Desert, California.
In a 2013 documentary made about Payne, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, she spoke very candidly about her pastime, admitting, “There’s never been a day that I went to steal that I did not get what I went to do.” She said she only has one regret about her heists.
“I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelry,” Payne said. “I regret getting caught.”
Payne’s crimes are so notorious that at one time, Hollywood actress Halle Berry was set to portray her in a film, but the project has since been abandoned.
Dovy Klarberg, vice president of Diamonds Direct SouthPark, told a Charlotte newspaper that Payne is not likely to be caught.
“My guess is that Doris is long gone,” Klarberg said. “She is not a spring chicken but she knows what she’s doing. Though it’s criminal, Doris is someone kind of to be admired in a strange way. She’s very slick. She definitely has a talent.”