Guilty plea but no jail for 87-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne

Guilty plea but no jail for 87-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne

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File/Chamblee Police Department
Doris Payne pleaded guilty to a shoplifting charge in Chamblee and will avoid more jail time.
  • Story Highlights
  • ‘Don’t come back,’ a Chamblee judge told Payne in accepting the plea.
  • Payne was arrested on a shoplifting charge at a Walmart in July.
  • She was released from jail in September when her probation was revoked.

Doris Payne, the 87-year-old who has stolen some $2 million in jewels over the last six decades and was recently arrested at a DeKalb County Walmart, got a warning — but no jail time — during her latest trip to court.

“Don’t come back, Ms. Payne,” Chamblee Municipal Court Judge Angela Duncan told Payne on Monday.

“I won’t,” Payne told the judge after pleading guilty to shoplifting in a deal that gave her credit for 58 days served from July through September.

Payne was arrested in July at a Chamblee Walmart after she stole $86.22 worth of merchandise from the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments, according to police.

At the time, she was nearing the end of 120 days of house arrest, which was part of her sentence in March for admittedly stealing a necklace from Von Maur at Perimeter Mall in 2016. She also was sentenced to three years of probation and was banned from shopping in any mall in DeKalb County.

Payne went back to jail after the arrest at Walmart, but was released in September when a DeKalb Superior Court judge revoked her probation.

“There was not enough new evidence on the new arrest,” Payne’s attorney, Marissa Goldberg, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time. “She’s free.”

But the shoplifting case was still pending until Monday’s plea.

Over the years, Payne has dressed in fine clothes with deep pockets, charmed sales workers at high-end department stores, distracted them and slipped out with expensive jewelry, The AJC previously reported.

She was the subject of a 2013 documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” that detailed how her theft habits began when she was in her 20s. 

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Channel 2's Chris Jose reports.

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