‘Diamond Doris’: notorious jewelry thief details life of crime in exclusive interview with Channel 2

ATLANTA — She’s a notorious jewel thief who stole millions of dollars’ worth of bling around the world.

Nicknamed “Diamond Doris” — Doris Payne, 91 — is the focus of documentaries and books detailing her life as a jewel thief spanning cities across the world, especially right here in Atlanta.

“I have never been arrested in a jewelry store. I have never been arrested leaving a jewelry store,” Payne said.

Payne sat down with Channel 2′s Karyn Greer for an exclusive interview recently. She told Greer that this was the first time she has sat down for an interview to give her account of stealing millions of dollars in jewelry over the last six decades.

Authorities said she has used 22 aliases and probably has gotten away with more than she has been caught with.

“Did you ever do time behind bars?” Greer asked Payne.

“Nine days,” she replied.

Our research reveals she has done several stints in prison. In fact, a jewelry association put out bulletins about her in the 1970s.


Payne now calls metro Atlanta home. Her latest arrest was in 2017 for allegedly taking merchandise from an area Walmart in Chamblee.

“Walmart? No, I’ve never been to a Walmart and stole no jewelry,” Payne said when Greer asked her about the allegations.

She was arrested again a year earlier for stealing a nearly $2,000 bracelet from the Von Maur store in Perimeter Mall.

Payne was hit with three years’ probation, and she has been banned from shopping in one upscale store in Buckhead for suspicion of stealing a pair of $700 earrings.

Payne told Greer that she purposely chose to get caught in Atlanta — the Hollywood of the South — to get the publicity she needed to get to the next level.

“If I come to Atlanta, I might get a book deal. I might get a movie deal because this is the only city in the United States that Blacks have any firm foot,” Payne said.

Payne’s escapades were not concentrated in the United States. She has had more than 20 arrests in countries around the world including Greece, France, England and Switzerland.

Her heist in an exclusive Monte Carlo jewelry store was the piece de resistance — a $550,000 round diamond ring weighing in at 10.5 carats.

“So what happened with Monte Carlo? That nice, expensive piece. Do you remember?” Greer asked Payne.

“Of course, but how do you mean what happened?” Payne replied.

“Once you left?” Greer asked.

“That was it,” Payne said.

“What did you do with it?” Greer asked.

“Sold it the next day in New York,” Payne said.

“Do you ever feel like you committed any crimes?” Greer asked Payne.

“I know I did. Every time I went, I knew it was a crime,” Payne said.

“Any regrets on anything you’ve done? Do you wish you hadn’t done it?” Greer asked Payne.

“Well, I didn’t kill nobody, or rob nobody,” Payne said.

“Well, you kind of robbed somebody,” Greer told Payne.

“I didn’t rob them. They gave it to me,” Payne said.