An 85-year-old international jewelry thief wanted in the July theft of a $33,000 ring from a SouthPark mall jewelry store was arrested in Atlanta over the weekend on a similar charge.
Doris Payne, 85, was arrested Friday after a $690 pair of earrings was stolen from a Saks Fifth Avenue department store in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Payne was released from the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday, jail records show.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether Payne would be brought back to Charlotte to face local charges.
The AP reported that Payne faces extradition on a warrant from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
But Payne’s lawyer, Shawn McCullers, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she won’t be extradited.
“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,” McCullers said. “We voiced our concerns about the frailty of her health.”
Originally from West Virginia, Payne is believed to have stolen up to $2 million in jewels over the past 60 years, including a 10-carat diamond from Cartier in Monte Carlo, according to the New York Post.
The Associated Press reported in 2005 that Payne would often walk into a jewelery store while posing as a well-to-do woman with money to spare. She’d ask to see a diamond ring, then ask to see an assortment of other pieces.
After confusing employees with the number of expensive jewelry items out of their cases, she casually slips one on her finger and leaves the store, the AP reported.
A similar tactic was reportedly used in Charlotte this summer. Payne is suspected of stealing a diamond-studded platinum ring from the David Yurman store on July 11, according to an email the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent to jewelers in the area.
“She uses the ‘sleight of hand tactic,’ ” CMPD wrote in the July email to retailers. “Basically, she will have employees pull jewelry out of a display case. Once the employee is distracted, she quickly conceals them. ... She is very good. She fooled the manager at David Yurman.”
Payne pleaded guilty in 2014 to burglary and grand theft for stealing a 3.5-carat, $22,500 ring from a California jeweler while on probation for stealing another ring in Los Angeles, according to USA Today. She was sentenced to four years in prison, but released three months later because of overcrowding in the jail.
Jonathan McFadden and The Associated Press contributed.