Entries in jewel thief (3)


Elderly International Jewel Thief, Doris Payne, Wants to Stay in Jail

Kevin Horan/Stone(SAN DIEGO) -- An elderly, international jewel thief is fighting her early release from prison.

Doris Payne, 80, was convicted in January 2011 for stealing a diamond ring from a Macy’s in California worth almost $9,000, according to local affiliate KGTV located in San Diego.

“She doesn’t have anywhere to go, so she’s staying in there,” attorney Gretchen Von Helms told KGTV.

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Von Helms receives letters regularly from Payne.  In one letter, Payne described inhaling pepper spray during an inmate fight, resulting in her breathing “harshly.”  She also bragged about a ring she stole in the 1960′s. The wife of baseball star Willie Mays was the prime suspect in the case and mistakenly arrested.

Just last year when Payne was convicted, she fought the five-year sentence.

“I really don’t think you should be that harsh with me.  I am truly sorry this went on as long as it did,” Payne told the judge, who gave her the maximum term, according to KGTV.

Von Helms argued for a three-year sentence, citing the fact her client had serious health problems.

Payne stole jewelry for six decades, reportedly around the world.

“I didn’t start out stealing jewelry,” Payne told KGTV.  “I started out making the salesperson forget it.”

In an interview with ABC News last year, Von Helms said Payne would dress to the nines, try on pieces of jewelry, banter with the clerk and, only after the fact, the clerk would realize a piece was missing.

Von Helms said the case in California was one of mistaken identity.

“She’s had a history of other times where she’s been accused righteously, and also accused falsely,” she said in the interview.  “She has a certain notoriety.”

Payne reportedly had 20 recorded aliases, five Social Security numbers and nine dates of birth on record.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Philadelphia Jewel Heist Caught on Tape

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia police have released a tape they believe shows a man breaking into a woman’s apartment and leaving with jewelry valued at $875,000.

The alleged burglary took place late in the morning on Jan. 18, in a building on central Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. The suspect can be seen exiting the scene via elevator. Police believe he then left the building the same way he entered, through a construction zone on an adjacent street.

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“He knew where he was going and we believe he had prior knowledge. This was not a random act,” said Lt. Pat Dougherty of the Philadelphia Police told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV.

WPVI reports that the haul consisted mostly of gold rings and the assorted jewelry collection of a woman living on the building’s 29th floor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


International Jewel Thief, 80, Nabbed in San Diego

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- Dressed to the nines, she waltzes into a high-end jewelry store in Monte Carlo -- or Paris or Las Vegas -- and smiles at the clerk. She asks to try on a ring or a watch -- wait, no not that one, the other one. How about this one?

After trying on and admiring several pieces, all the while bantering with the sales clerk, she decides that, no, she won't be buying anything today. She glides out as gracefully as she came in and the clerk goes back to work.

It will be hours before the clerk realizes one of the more expensive pieces – a ring that nice old lady had tried on -- is missing.

That's how Doris Payne, now 80, has been robbing jewelry stores blind for the better part of a century, her lawyer told ABC News Thursday.

Payne has served time in six states for theft. Her most recent conviction was Wednesday. Payne was found guilty of walking out of a San Diego, California Macy's with a diamond ring worth nearly $9,000 on Jan. 1, 2010.

According to her lawyer, Gretchen von Helms, Payne maintains that she has been wrongfully convicted – that it is a case of mistaken identity. Whatever the case, it's just the latest conviction in a career of thievery so notorious that, according to von Helms "if there's been a jewelry theft and an African-American woman did it, everyone would say, 'It must've been Doris Payne.'"

"She's had a history of other times where she's been accused righteously, and also accused falsely," said von Helms. "She has a certain notoriety."

While Payne denies the latest crime attributed to her, she admitted that she makes a life on the other side of the law, sometimes in exotic locales.

"When I cross-examined her, I said, 'This is what you do. You're an international jewel thief,' and she said, 'Yes,'" San Diego Deputy District Attorney John Pro said.

The daughter of a West Virginia coal miner, Payne has reportedly traveled the world plying her trade under some of more than 20 recorded aliases. ABC News has found she also has five Social Security numbers and nine different dates of birth on record. She sports an Interpol record that reaches back into the early 70s, von Helms said, and a U.S. rap sheet nearly 20 pages long.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio