83-year-old international jewel thief strikes again

PALM DESERT, Calif. (KESQ/CNN) - An 83-year-old woman claiming to be an international jewel thief with five decades of experience may have struck again, this time in California.

"I've got to give it to her craft, because she is good at what she does," said the general manager of El Paseo Jewelers.

The man didn't want his identity revealed, but he wants people to know he came face-to-face with the jewel thief.

"When you see somebody that old, you don't think that they're going to steal something from you," he said.

Doris Payne's criminal career began when she was just 23 and walked out of a Pittsburgh jewelry store with a $22,000 diamond. Sixty years later, she's still at it, getting away on El Paseo with an engagement ring of the same value.

"It's a 1.5 carat diamond in the center and 2 trillions on the side, and some paradigm in the rounded. It's $22,500 retail value,' said the manager.

Payne claims to have shoplifted jewelry from New York to Monte Carlo, using at least 22 aliases. The one she used here last week was "Audrey."

"She told us she lost all her jewelry to a theft and she got insurance money for it for $42,000," said the manager.

The man says he spent 45 minutes showing Payne $100,000 worth of jewelry and didn't notice her slip the piece away. A similar incident happened in 2011 when she was convicted of stealing a pricey ring from a Macy's department store in San Diego.

"To say that I have no remorse, that's people who don't know me," Payne said.

For victims of her theft, that's hard to believe. Payne has been jailed in several states, and many are skeptical if justice will ever be served.

"She should go to jail, but that's not going to happen. So she'll be out again and doing it to somebody else," said the manager.


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