Sometimes jewelry heists seem to be a passé news topic, something that seems unreal and only happens in the movies. In fact, the stereotype of the typical jewelry thief still revolves around the black clad individual with cat-like moves, huge motivations to snatch a large diamond, and sneakily thwarting attempts at being caught. In fact, this image sounds almost romantic in theory but in reality it doesn’t always work out that way. This AZ jewelry appraiser often reads about smaller scale thefts, where an individual managed to walk out of a jewelry store with a handful of stolen goods when no one was looking.
However, there is still the occasion where jewelry heists happen on a large scale and it garners national (or even international) attention. One example this AZ jewelry appraiser found lays in the story of Doris Payne, a jewelry thief notorious for swiping expensive items on an international scale over the decades. She is well-known among the jewelry industry and has used a combination of charisma and slight of hand to walk away with expensive clothing and jewelry. In fact, a documentary was released in 2013 called “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” which outlines the West Virginia-born woman’s criminal career since the 1950s. There have also been talks of releasing a Hollywood version of her life story with Halle Berry potentially starring as a younger version of the sophisticated thief.
Any royalties generated from those endeavors may prove handy very soon for Payne because it seems that she has yet to give up the criminal lifestyle. This AZ jewelry appraiser learned that Payne’s most recent crimes date to the last few years as she entered her 80s. In 2010, Payne stole a $1,300 designer trench coat and a 1-carat diamond ring. Just last year, she was convicted of stealing a diamond ring valued at more than $22,000 but was released from prison after 3 months due to prison overcrowding and was put on probation. And just last month marks yet another crime that may be added to her record.
This AZ jewelry appraiser found that in July, the 84-year-old was accused of yet another jewelry crime. This time, she evidently stole a diamond engagement ring valued at more than $33,000 from a mall jewelry stores in South Carolina. Although Payne is relatively well-known among most large jewelers, she escaped the notice from the small shop’s security team until it was too late. The ring was described as a platinum band with a halo and numerous tiny diamonds.
Earlier this month an arrest warrant was issued for Payne in connection with the above crime and, possibly, for violating the terms of her probation. If convicted, she may face harsher punishments for stepping up her game, including facing at least two years in prison for violating probation. For now, however, your local AZ jewelry appraiser is waiting to hear what comes next for the jewelry thief.