Police Put Stores on High Alert After Suspecting Elderly Convicted Jewel Thief Has Struck Again

Doris Payne Allegedly Strikes Again: Police
Doris Payne in 2005
Jae C. Hong/AP

07/18/2015 AT 01:25 PM EDT

She looks unassuming, like someone's sweet, well-dressed and charismatic grandmother. But Doris Payne, 84, is a convicted international jewelry thief who has spent time in prison – and police suspect she may be at it again.

Jewelry stores in Charlotte, North Carolina, are on high alert after police sent out a warning, believing the well-known thief stole a $33,000 engagement ring from the David Yurman store inside upscale Southpark mall.

Payne is a notorious thief who has successfully swiped jewels in Greece, Switzerland, Britain and France. She's so well-known that Halle Berry was once set to star in a movie about her life. Payne was most recently taken into police custody in September 2014 after she allegedly stole a diamond ring in Riverside County, California. She was released from custody in October.

In the email alert to Charlotte stores, police describe Payne as using the "slight of hand tactic", saying once the employee is distracted she quickly conceals the item and walks out. The email goes on to say, "She is very good. She fooled the manager at David Yurman."



According to police Payne, who may have been using the alias Amy Dillard, was spotted first by a Tiffany & Co. employee who tried to warn workers at the nearby David Yurman store, but it was too late.

Diamonds Direct, a jewelry store across from the mall got the alert and posted her picture throughout their showroom so staffers and security would know who to watch out for.

"Doris Payne is certainly infamous and she is a fascinating woman," said Diamonds Direct's Charlotte Vice President, Dovy Karberg. "It's outstanding that in her 80s she is charismatic enough to continue to pull this off. The way she carries herself, you would never assume she'd pulled off this level of heist."

The theft happened on July eleventh and Charlotte Mecklenburg police aren't commenting on any leads.

According to the police report, the ring she reportedly swiped is described as having multiple small diamonds in a halo and a platinum band that goes over the ring in a crossover fashion.

Karberg told PEOPLE, "She is a fascinating character Payne is infamous in our industry, certainly someone to watch, and someone who is interesting to watch."

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