America’s Most Successful Jewel Thief Retires From Life of Crime

Doris Payne in Atlanta on Jan. 11, 2016 (John Bazemore/AP Images)
Doris Payne in Atlanta on Jan. 11, 2016 (John Bazemore/AP Images)

If you turned the true story of America’s greatest jewel thief into a movie, it would include scenes from Monte Carlo, New York and even Tokyo. It would feature a black woman, and the script would span seven decades. It would feature hair-raising tales; but, like most movies, the problem is always the ending. Will it end in a daring getaway where the heroine disappears into the night? Will she end up on a tropical island surrounded by diamonds and wads of cash?


Nah. It ends at Wally World.

According to The Independent, Doris Payne, the 87-year-old woman who is purported to have stolen more than $2 million in jewels over the span of her decades of larceny, pleaded guilty to shoplifting $86.22 worth of merchandise from Walmart and has vowed to give up stealing.

Chamblee, Ga., Municipal Court Judge Angela Duncan said, “Don’t come back, Ms. Payne,” to which the woman dubbed “America’s most successful jewel thief” replied, “I won’t.”

This was Payne’s second offense in as many years, after she was caught trying to steal a $2,000 necklace from Atlanta’s Perimeter Mall.

Payne’s career includes stealing a $500,000 diamond ring from Cartier’s in Monte Carlo, and authorities say she has used more than 20 aliases and multiple Social Security numbers. In a 2013 documentary about her life, she said: “I do not have any regrets about stealing jewelry. I regret getting caught.”


Payne says that she never used violence or a weapon, and the only tool she ever used was a purse and sleight-of-hand. When she was caught at Walmart, she was wearing an ankle monitor because of a previous arrest.

But now that the celebrated heist master is hanging up her diamond-cuffing fingers, what do you get a woman who retires from the jewel-thieving industry? A gold watch?


Never mind. I’m sure she can get her own.

Read more at The Independent.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.



Let’s discuss who’s going to play her in a movie.

All of her younger pictures seem to be mugshots or FBI Wanted postings.

However this is a truly beautiful woman, and if it’s going to be a period piece, I feel it does right to honor her as a *Michael Jackson pun intended* Smooth Criminal.

Probably played by Simone Missick.