True Crime, WV

Doris Payne: West Virginia Jewel Thief

doris payne west virginia jewel thief

Doris Payne was born in Slab Fork, WV (which is in Raleigh County) on October 10, 1930. Her father (David Payne) was a coal miner and her mother was a seamstress. A lot of people have never heard of her despite the fact that she became a very infamous, international jewel thief. And she is still at it today, despite being in her 80s.

How Doris Payne Steals Jewelry

Her career as an international jewel thief started in 1952 and spans 6 decades. Doris Payne’s modus operandi is entering jewelry stores pretending to be a well-to-do woman. She usually acts like she is looking for a diamond ring. She is very charming and engages the store clerks in conversation while asking to see several different items of jewelry. This causes the store clerks to forget how many pieces of jewelry are out of the case which makes it very easy for her to steal an item or two.

Doris Payne’s Most Notable Crime

She is most famous for stealing a 10-carat diamond ring valued at $500,000. Doris stole this ring in Monte Carlo in the 1970’s. She then fled to France but was captured in Nice and extradited back to the United States. She was held 9 months and was only released because authorities couldn’t find the stolen ring.

 Just A Few Of Her Other Crimes

Doris Payne was also arrested in Ohio in the 1980’s after she escaped from custody during a hospital visit.

In January 2010 she was arrested again in Costa Mesa, California for stealing a Burberry trench coat (worth $1,300). The following year at the age of 80, she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing a 1-carat diamond ring.

When she was 83 years old Doris was arrested for stealing a ring worth $22,500. She pled guilty and was sentenced to 2 years in prison, followed by 2 years parole. She was also ordered to stay away from jewelry stores. But she was released within 3 months due to prison overcrowding.

Authorities believe that in July 2015 Doris Payne stole a ring valued at $33,000, but this has not been proven. But on October 23, 2015, she was spotted on security cameras stealing Christian Dior earrings ($690.00) from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta. She was arrested and charged with shoplifting.

Doris speaks about her crimes openly and says she’s used at least 20 different aliases, 10 social security numbers, and 9 dates of birth.

Doris Payne Today

As far as anyone knows she has no intention to stop being a jewel thief. She was arrested again on July 17, 2017, for stealing $82.00 of merchandise from a Walmart in Atlanta. She was wearing the ankle bracelet from her previous arrest.

If you found this interesting, check out the true story of how a ghost put a man in prison for murder.

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