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‘Granny Gem Thief’ Nabbed Again at Walmart
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Doris Payn

Summary: Known as a career criminal for her theft of jewels and other items, Doris Payne was arrested on yet another charge of shoplifting.

This granny has a serious case of the butter fingers. Dubbed the ‘granny gem thief’ because of her age of 86-years-old, but that doesn’t stop her from snatching up whatever she can grab from stores. Doris Payne was caught shoplifting at a Walmart outside of Atlanta when an officer saw her shoving things into her purse.


Payne was arrested in Chamblee for shoplifting an alleged $86.22 in items ranging from electronics to grocery to pharmacy products. She still had the ankle bracelet on from a past arrest.

Payne is notorious for stealing from shops around town and has even been banned from all Atlanta-area malls. Her previous, most recent arrest was in March. She did not show up to the arraignment hearing for stealing a $2,000 necklace. She has a total of over 20 arrests in her lifetime. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that she has stolen around $2 million in goods over the past sixty years.

A documentary on her story can be viewed on Netflix called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” In the story, Payne explains that she started shoplifting when she was just 10-years-old. She has since grown to take her sticky fingers with her on trips to France, Switzerland, and Greece.

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Doris wanted poster

In the documentary, Payne says, “There’s never been a day that I went to steal that I did not get what I went to do.” She has served small stints behind bars for her crimes. Her most notable theft was a 10-carat diamond ring valued at $500,000 in the 1970s from Monte Carlo. She tried to run to France but was detained in Nice until being extradited back to Monte Carlo. She was held there for nine months before being released because they could not find the ring.

Other notable run-ins with the law include an Ohio arrest in the 1980s when she escaped federal custody during a hospital visit and an arrest in 2013 for stealing a $22,500 diamond-encrusted in Palm Desert. She pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison with two years of parole. Due to prison overcrowding, she was released after three months and right back out there shoplifting.

She openly talks about her crimes and use of at least 20 aliases, nine dates of birth and ten social security numbers. She has gotten away with a lot of the crimes because they can’t find the items after the shoplifting has occurred. She may be banned from malls and jewelry stores but that doesn’t stop her from finding other stores to rip off.

Her scheme at jewelry stores was to pose as a wealthy woman that was charming and friendly. When the associate pulled out items, she would keep them distracted by pulling out more so that eventually, they would forget how many items they had placed on the counter, giving Payne the opportunity to swipe an item or two.

Do you think Payne needs to be stopped with a permanent visit to prison or is there another way of getting her to stop shoplifting? Tell us your thoughts or advice for Payne in the comments below.

To learn more about other shoplifters, read these articles:

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