Tag Archives: jewelry thieves

Legendary Jewerly Thief Doris Payne Strikes Again!

The 84-year-old jewelry thief extraordinaire, Doris Payne fooled us again with her latest steal, a $33,000 engagement ring at David Yurman in Charlotte, North Carolina. Payne has spanned a seasoned, sixty three year career stealing from famous jewelry houses and can count Switzerland, Greece and even Japan as some of her prime hotspots.

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Born in 1930 in Slab Fork, West Virginia, Payne grew up poor and struggled as a working class mother. Payne’s first score was when she was a child swiping a watch from her local jeweler. Payne quickly worked her way stealing from upscale department stores, major jewelers like Tiffany & Co. and even stole a 10 1/2 ct diamond in Monte Carlo. Totally fascinated? Well, the legendary jewelry thief dubbed ‘Diamond Doris’ was even the subject of a documentary, The Life and Times of Doris Payne.  

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This most recent report comes shortly after her October jail release from last year after stealing a $22,500 diamond encrusted ring at El Paseo Jewelers in Palm Desert, California.

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The Jewelry Insider

June 12, 2009


Diamonds have inspired the criminal mind to do some questionable acts throughout history – from intricate jewelry heists, to cunning catburglar antics. And Hollywood certainly loves to put a glamorous spin on the whole seedy operation (see the Ocean’s 11 and Pink Panther franchises for more).

But real life is definitely not as glamorous. Two disturbing news reports have me scratching my head this morning. One involves a lame attempt to pull a diamond fast one and the other involves stealing from a corpse. As if being dead wasn’t bad enough.

The first diamond deadbeat is 30-year-old Henry Floats of Hollywood, Florida. Authorities say this jewelry salesman reported that he had been robbed of $500,000 in diamonds on Interstate 95 while changing a flat tire. Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate the fuzz taking a gander in his trunk – where they found the diamond stash just sitting there in a suitcase.

Henry. You gotta think these things through.

He told authorities he made the false report so that the company he worked for would be reimbursed by insurance and he would (eureka!) get to keep the diamonds. Instead, Henry finds himself charged with grand theft of over $100,000 and is being held on $40,000 bail.


More disturbing is diamond deadbeat #2 – someone who took it upon themselves to rob a dead woman of her 1.5 carat diamond earrings. Carol Arbit’s family says she was wearing her favorite diamond earrings when she died suddenly, but that they disappeared after her body was taken from the house.

“How can you do this to a deceased person and to a family. We’re sick over it, sick over it,” Arbit’s daughter, Sheri Purdy, told reporters.

Purdy says the 1.5 carat diamond studs were her mother’s favorite earrings, and she wore them every day. But when her body was released from the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Boston, the diamonds were gone.

While the family is resigned to never finding the earrings again, police are going to look for them at local pawn shops. According to an appraisal by the family the diamonds were worth $2,300 – but the meaning they held was priceless.