Doris Payne, the 83-year-old woman accused of taking a diamond ring from a local jewelry store, uses simple – but effective – methods of committing thefts, according to those familiar with the famous jewel thief.
And according to a declaration in support of a search warrant, that was the case during the Oct. 21 theft at El Paseo Jewelers in Palm Desert.
The document, which was provided by Riverside County Superior Court, indicates Riverside County sheriff’s deputies reviewed surveillance footage of the theft.
Payne was left alone while the manager, Raju Mehta, walked into a back room and she was filmed “lifting her right hand over the front edge of the display case, as if to reach out and pick something up off the counter,” according to the document.
The suspect then looked toward Mehta, hesitated for a moment and put her right hand into her lap.
Seconds later, she looked toward the manager again, looked behind her and quickly grabbed one of the rings that were laid out in front of her on the counter, according to the document.
She immediately pulled back her hand and dropped the ring on the floor.
Payne continued talking to Mehta when he returned. But when he turned his back, Payne bent down and appeared to pick up something from the floor before quickly sitting upright and looking away from the manager.
According to the documents, Payne was later filmed pulling at the left side of her blouse near her neck and using her right hand to reach in and make “two downward tucking motions.”
She remained in the store for several minutes before leaving.
Payne was arrested Oct. 29 in Pomona on suspicion of stealing a diamond ring and selling it the same day to The Exchange in Westfield Palm Desert.
She pleaded not guilty in superior court on Nov. 5. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.
Payne is the subject of a documentary called “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” which was produced by Matthew Pond of Palm Springs. A Hollywood film about her also is in the works.
Payne has a history of high-priced thefts. She’s been tied to crimes in several states, including California, New York, Colorado and Nevada, over the past 50 years.
Other heists reportedly occurred in Greece, France, Britain and Switzerland
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.