Ring Recovered From Secondhand Jewelry Store

83-year-Old Doris Payne Accused of Jewelry Theft

POSTED: 11:02 AM PST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 12:43 PM PST Nov 07, 2013 
Doris Payne

UPDATE: Riverside County Sheriff's Department served a search warrant at a secondhand jewelry dealer in Palm Desert Wednesday.  Deputies recovered the ring stolen from El Paseo Jewelers on October 21st.  The ring is being held in evidence in the case against Doris Payne.

UPDATE: an 83-year-old Doris Payne pleaded not guilty today to stealing a $22,500 ring on Oct. 21 from El Paseo Jewelers in the 73000 block of El Paseo.

Payne pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of grand theft and burglary. her bail was raised from $45,000 to $65,000. She is due back in court Nov. 20 fora felony settlement conference.

UPDATE: Doris Payne is scheduled to be arraigned in an Indio courtroom tomorrow. She allegedly stole a high end ring from a Palm Desert store. 

Payne's arraingment comes after a judge granted her a delay to retain an attorney. Gretchen Von Helms, who represented Payne in her last case in San Diego, will be in court with her Tuesday morning. 

Von Helm says she decided to represent Payne in her latest case after Payne reached out to her.

Payne was previously convicted of stealing a diamond ring worth $8,800 from a Macy's store at Fashion Valley. After spending two and a half years behind bars for that crime, Payne was given parole. According to Von Helms, that parole is why Payne was not granted bail and remains behind bars. 

Payne was arrested at her home in Pomona last Tuesday and faces one felony count of grant theft. She is accused of stealing a ring from a high end jewelry store on El Paseo on October 18. The value of the ring is over $20,000. 

UPDATE: Doris Payne was in court today, but her arraignment was delayed until November 5th so that Payne could bring her own Attorney.  Judge Randall White denied any television cameras into the courtroom.


Police say a woman who claims to be an international jewel thief, with a 5-decade career, has struck again, this time in Palm Desert.

83-year-old Doris Payne is in jail tonight accused of stealing a diamond ring worth more than $20,000 from El Paseo Jewelers.

"I've got to give it to her craft, because she is good at what she does," said the general manager of El Paseo Jewelers, who asked to keep his name private.

But he wants people to know he came face to face with the jewel thief.

"When you see somebody that old, you don't think that they're going to steal something from you," he said.

Doris Payne's criminal career began when she was just 23 and walked out of a Pittsburgh jewelry store with a $22,000 diamond. 

Sixty years later she's still at it, getting away on El Paseo with an engagement ring of the same value.

"It's a 1.5 carat diamond in the center and 2 trillions on the side.  It's $22,500 retail value," the general manager said.

Payne claims to have shoplifted jewelry from New York to Monte Carlo, using at least 22 aliases.

The one she used here last week was "Audrey." 

"She told us she lost all her jewelry to a theft and she got insurance money for it for $42,000," said the general manager.

He spent 45 minutes showing Payne a $100,000 worth of jewelry and didn't notice her slip the piece away.

A similar incident happened in 2011 when she was convicted of stealing a pricey ring from a Macy's department store in San Diego.

"To say that I have no remorse, that's people who don't know me," Payne said in court. 

But for victims of her theft that's hard to believe.  Payne has been jailed in several states, and many are skeptical if justice will ever be served.

"She should go to jail but that's not going to happen.  So she'll be out again and doing it to somebody else," said the general manager. 

Payne is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow at Indio's Larson Justice Center.

Payne's crimes have been featured in a documentary of her life -- and Halle Berry is set to play Payne in a feature film called "Who is Doris Payne?"