Career Jewel Thief Doris Payne, 83, Ordered to Stand Trial — Again

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Doris Payne, the 83-year-old career jewelry thief whose worldwide exploits have grabbed international headlines, was ordered to stand trial Wednesday in her most recent case out of Riverside County.


Doris Marie Payne, 83, right, talks to her attorney at her arraignment in Indio. Payne, a convicted jewel thief, has pleaded not guilty. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Payne has been charged with second-degree burglary and grand theft after allegedly stealing a diamond-encrusted ring from a Palm Desert jewelry store Oct. 21. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Richard A. Erwood ordered Payne back in court Dec. 26, and denied her attorneys’ request to release her from custody. In his decision to keep Payne in custody in lieu of $65,000 bail, the judge noted the 83-year-old had listed her occupation on court papers as “jewelry thief” — which she had done in at least one prior arrest.

Payne’s attorney, Gretchen von Helms, said although she respected the judge’s decision, she was disappointed. “It’s not whether or not she’s guilty, it’s whether you’ll come back and face the music,” Von Helms said. “And Doris has a long history of coming back to face the music.”

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