‘A sharp contrast’: Notorious 86-year-old jewel thief arrested … at Walmart

 A notorious jewel thief with an illicit career spanning six decades has been caught stealing again, but she wasn’t after sparkly gems this time, police near Atlanta say.

Doris Payne, 86, was arrested at a Walmart store around 5 p.m. Monday and charged with shoplifting $86.22 worth of merchandise, according to a report from Chamblee police. The charge is a misdemeanour.

Payne was the subject of a 2013 documentary film, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” that detailed her feats. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, she casually acknowledged, “I was a thief.” She’s well-known in fine-jewelry circles, and authorities say she has pocketed expensive jewels from stores around the world.

Her attorney, Drew Findling, noted that this case is different.

“This is a sharp contrast to all the cases in the past. We’re not talking about high-end jewelry,” he said. “We’re talking about what an 86-year-old woman needs to survive on a day-to-day basis, food supplies and medical supplies.”

The police report doesn’t list the items that Payne allegedly tried to steal.

Findling said he’s reviewed the police report but still needs to watch surveillance video footage to see what happened.

Payne’s latest arrest came after a Walmart employee notified an off-duty police officer working security at the store that Payne visited the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments. She put some items in her shopping cart but hid others in her purse and a Walmart shopping bag, the employee said.

Payne then went to a register and paid for the items in her shopping cart but not the items in her shopping bag and purse, the employee said. When she tried to exit the store the employee and the off-duty officer stopped her.

When Payne was booked into the Chamblee jail, police discovered she was wearing an electronic ankle monitor because she was on probation from a prior arrest in DeKalb County. She pleaded guilty in March to a felony shoplifting charge after authorities said she tried to steal a $2,000 necklace from a Von Maur department store in December.

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