VIDEO: Notorious Jewel Thief, Accused in Palm Desert Crime, Due in Court Tuesday

Recent booking photo of Doris Marie Payne, 83, released Oct. 30, 2013.
Recent booking photo of Doris Marie Payne, 83, released Oct. 30, 2013.
An 83-year-old woman whose life as a jewel thief was chronicled in a recent documentary is due in an Indio courtroom Tuesday to be arraigned for allegedly stealing a ring from a Palm Desert store.

Doris Marie Payne appeared at Indio's Larson Justice Center on Thursday, but Riverside Superior Court Judge Randall White rescheduled her arraignment to Nov. 5 after she said she was going to hire an attorney.

Payne, who was held Monday at Smith Correctional in Banning in lieu of $45,000 bail, is accused of stealing an expensive ring on Oct. 21 from El Paseo Jewelers in the 73000 block of El Paseo.

Payne was arrested Oct. 29 in Pomona, where Palm Desert police with the department's Business District Team served an arrest warrant, and was charged Oct. 24 with one felony count of grand theft over $400.

Payne is the subject of "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne," which premiered in April at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, and there has also been talk of a possible film about her life.

Payne was on probation for felony theft in Los Angeles when she allegedly stole the ring in Palm Desert.

On Oct. 18, she was seen looking at jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Desert, and store security recognized her "from the company's run-in with Payne in 2010," when she was arrested for theft, Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Adan Yamaguchi wrote in a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.

"Payne would typically charm the sales associate and ask to see multiple items at once, causing the sales associate to forget how many items they are showing," Yamaguchi wrote.

On Oct. 21, Payne entered El Paseo Jewelers and was shown around a dozen necklaces. She left without buying anything, returned an hour later and asked to see rings, according to the declaration.

"(An employee) showed her numerous diamond rings and several very high-priced rings," Yamaguchi wrote.

She said she'd return the next day with a cashier's check from Bank of America to buy some jewelry, and left. The next day, employees told the store's owner a ring was missing, and someone "remembered last seeing the ring on the female's left pinkie finger," Yamaguchi wrote.

"Due to the large amount of inventory out on the display case at once and her charming personality, he must have forgotten to retrieve the ring from her before she left," the declaration stated.

Deputies identified the woman as Payne using photos from Saks, Yamaguchi wrote.

In June 2011, Payne pleaded no contest to grand theft of personal property for stealing a ring priced at $16,000 from a Santa Monica jewelry store and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

In January 2011, she was convicted of burglary and grand theft for stealing an $8,900 ring from Macy's in San Diego and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In April 2010, she pleaded guilty to grand theft for stealing a $1,300 Burberry trench coat from a Saks store in Costa Mesa and was sentenced to a year in jail and three years probation.

In July 2009, Payne was convicted of grand theft in Santa Clara County. In 2005, she stole an $8,500 ring in Nevada. She was convicted in 1999 of stealing a ring from a Neiman Marcus store in Denver and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The documentary shows how "a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated 1930s America winds up as one of the world's most notorious and successful jewel thieves," according to its website, which says Payne "is as unapologetic today about the $2 million in jewels she's stolen over a 60-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat."

Reported by City News Service


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