‘I was a thief’: Jewel-pilfering woman reflects on life

ATLANTA (AP) – A renowned 85-year-old jewel thief charged with stealing a pair of earrings in Atlanta speaks about her exploits in broad terms, refusing to give specifics of how she selects a target.

Doris Payne says she knows she could have been more than she was. But asked how she’d describe her decades-long career, she’s quick to answer: “I was a thief.”

Payne recently sat down with The Associated Press to talk about her life. When asked about the most recent charges, however, her attorney told her not to answer.

Payne has been charged in numerous cases, with court papers referencing six cases dating to 1999. An industry group put out bulletins warning jewelers about her as early as the 1970s.

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