Bench warrant issued for octogenarian jewel thief

Bench warrant issued for octogenarian jewel thief

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Doris Payne, an 86-year-old infamous jewel thief, shown in an archived mugshot and one released by the DeKalb jail. She is accused of shoplifting from Perimeter Mall.
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  • The warrant was issued in DeKalb County for Doris Payne, 86.

A bench warrant was issued Friday for an 86-year-old jewel thief who has become a celebrity of sorts thanks to a recent documentary depicting her life of crime.

Police won’t come knocking on Doris Payne’s door, but she faces arrest if she has any more encounters with law enforcement. And though her lawyers say she is in failing health — which led to the postponement of her trial last month in Fulton County for the 2015 theft of Christian Dior earrings from Saks Fifth Avenue — that didn’t stop Payne from allegedly pilfering a diamond necklace last December from a Dunwoody department store .

She was to be arraigned in DeKalb County Superior Court for that case last week, but didn’t show, prompting the bench warrant. Payne also had a warrant out for her arrest in North Carolina on another theft charge when she was arrested at Saks, according to Fulton County jail records.

“We called and talked to (officials in North Carolina) and they decided they wouldn’t extradite her, which is often the case, for a bunch of reasons,” one of Payne’s attorneys, Shawn McCullers, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2015. “We voiced our concerns about the frailty of her health.”

A 2013 documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” chronicled her rise from poverty in West Virginia and the charming manner which enabled her to steal about $2 million in jewels over six decades. Payne would dress in fine clothes and flash deep pockets, charming sales workers unaware they were being had.

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