LOS ANGELES -- After decades of stealing expensive jewelry from Monte Carlo to the Stanford Shopping Center, 83-year-old Doris Payne last summer promised a filmmaker who chronicled her life that she was giving up her larcenous lifestyle.
But Payne, known for a smooth-talking style that helped her pull off the high-end heists internationally, was arrested this week on suspicion of stealing a $22,000 ring from a Palm Desert store on Oct. 21.
The Los Angeles Times reported Matthew Pond, who made a documentary about Payne, said she promised she wouldn't steal again after being released from prison, where she was serving time for crimes committed in San Diego County.
Payne has said that over 50 years she stole millions of dollars' worth of jewels in the United States and Europe by posing as a wealthy buyer.
Elegantly dressed, she would walk into the tony jewelry stores, spin stories about her finances and ask to see gems from display cases all over the store, authorities told this newspaper in 2009. She would often leave with an expensive ring in her hand or even on her finger.
In 2005, she stole a $30,000 diamond ring from the Neiman Marcus at Stanford Shopping Center. She was caught about a week later when the Neiman Marcus store in Las Vegas recognized her from security video images from the Stanford store.
Payne still had the diamond ring from the Stanford store on her, police said at the time.
She had already served time in Nevada and then in Colorado for a parole violation before authorities extradited her to Santa Clara County in 2009. Payne pleaded no contest to a felony grand theft charge in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
In the early 1970s, Payne pulled off similar robberies in Paris and Monte Carlo, where she flew in 1974 and paid a visit to Cartier, reportedly coming away with a platinum diamond ring. When she got to the airport in Nice, customs agents suspected she had the ring and stopped her. The ring was never found.