Legendary Grandmother Jewel Thief Cops Yet Another Plea

Doris Payne, the 83-year-old “grandmother” jewel thief who has been implicated in dozens of crimes stretching back decades, has pleaded guilty to another gem grab, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in California.

On April 28, Payne copped to two felony counts of burglary and grand theft, stemming from the Oct. 29 theft of a $22,500 diamond ring from a California jeweler. She was sentenced to four years—two in county jail and two under mandatory supervision, during which the judge ordered her to stay away from jewelry stores, says DA spokesman John Hall.

This recent plea is just the latest chapter in a storied criminal history that dates back six decades, and reportedly includes thefts in Monte Carlo and Japan. Payne claims to have stolen more than $2 million in jewels from many different countries, and once gave her occupation as “jewel thief.” A detective told the Associated Press her rap sheet is six feet long, and she has served numerous jail terms, including two in the last decade. According to a 2005 Denver Post article, she has escaped from custody twice, in 1968 and 1987.

Hall says his office objected to the plea and sentence, given the “aggravating factors.”

“Those include a criminal history dating back to 1952, crimes having been committed across the United States as well as internationally, that she used her age to gain the trust of victims, a previous failure to successfully complete probation and parole, and that she was on parole when she committed the crime charged in this case,” he says. 

JCK News Director