By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Charlotte, N.C.--Doris Payne, an oft-convicted international jewelry thief whose spans career decades and multiple countries, is allegedly at it again.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department believes that on July 11, Payne stole a diamond and platinum ring valued at $33,000 from the David Yurman store in the Southpark mall in Charlotte.

Though the department declined to comment on any more details than were available in the police report because the investigation is ongoing, local news reports said that the CMPD sent out an email to area jewelers after the incident to alert them about Payne.

One local TV news station reported that the email discussed her tactics, noting that she “uses the ‘sleight-of-hand tactic.’ Basically, she will have employees pull jewelry out of a display case. Once the employee is distracted, she quickly conceals them.”

Payne grew up in West Virginia and began stealing jewels in her 20s, according to USA Today, never using guns or violence to do so but rather acting as a woman of means out shopping and using charm and eventually her age to gain store employees’ trust.

Payne’s criminal past spans thefts in Greece, Switzerland, Britain and France as well as a few states across the country. It is estimated that she has stolen up to $2 million in jewels total, has been arrested some 20 times during her career and has worked under just as many aliases.

According to USA Today, in April 2014 Payne pleaded guilty to the theft of a $22,000 ring from El Paseo Jewelers in Palm Desert, Calif. She was sentenced to two years in prison, as well as two years of mandatory supervision, but was released just three months later due to jail overcrowding.

She was arrested again last September after failing to report to probation officers but was released in October after telling a judge that she had been confused about reporting requirements.

There also is a documentary, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, which was released in 2013 and chronicles her life and career.





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