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.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Notorious 86-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne arrested despite illness

Doris Payne, the jewel thief who's stolen about $2 million worth over the last six decades, was arrested Monday by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit.

The 86-year-old was wanted on a bench warrant after missing a court date earlier this month.

She told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution a few hours after missing the appearance that she’s been ill.

“I ain’t runnin’,” she said in a phone interview. “Medically, I was not able to go.”

She was arrested at her Atlanta home without incident, the sheriff’s office said.

She’s been dealing with severe pain, trouble with balance and draining tests related to a lump in her neck. It could be cancer, she said.

RELATED: Woodstock KFC cook found tied up, beaten to death in DeKalb hotel

RELATED: Police: DeKalb murder suspect found 10 years after cop let him escape

RELATED: DeKalb police: Cop arrested for tampering with crime scene

The hearing was related to a theft charge from a December arrest at Perimeter Mall.

Last month, she was deemed too ill to stand trial by the judge presiding over a Fulton County case stemming from a missing set of Christian Dior earrings at Phipps Plaza.

Payne has been open about her habits of theft, which she detailed in a documentary called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.”

Please return to for updates.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.