PALM SPRINGS - Doris Payne's crime spree spanned over 60 years and several continents. It's estimated she stole more than $2 million in jewels. Her latest heist happened in Palm Desert at El Paseo Jewelers. She was later arrested in Pamona during a visit to her probation officer.
Matthew Pond’s documentary "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne" gives viewers an intimate look at the life of this woman. "People have called here a sociopath, a psychopath. I would say in the common understanding of narcissism, yes she is a narcissist,” says Pond who lives in Palm Springs.
Pond says she was a product of her environment having been born in the 30's segregated south, Payne lived a life of always feeling less than her white counterparts. "At a very young age she was told, well she wanted to be a ballerina--- and she was told there are no black ballerinas,” says Pond.
At a young age, she decided things would be different for her. Her life would be glamorous and beautiful no matter the cost. "She says at that point the race thing set in. And I think she means that she did develop a revenge sort of mentality,” says Pond.
The documentary also gives insight into her family. Payne is not married and has two older children. “Her daughter is a law abiding citizen. She's frankly embarrassed by her mother,” says Pond.
Pond says Payne would steal jewels from New York, London and other areas of the world-- the most expensive one stolen from Monte Carlo. She would pawn them off or sell them to people she knew. "She told us there were doctors, wives, prominent people in society that she would sell them to,” says Pond.
In the documentary, she also talks about religion and hopes she does see her deceased mother one day. "She describes herself as a spiritual person although she steals and may not be the typical Christian,” says Pond.
Several aliases, more than $2 million in jewels stolen and several convictions later, many wonder is this the last chapter of Payne's crime spree? "Here we are again. I honestly can’t say whether or not she'll steal gain,” says Pond.
It's hard to say, Pond says, but says through it all, Payne has managed to keep a sense of humor. Even when asked her thoughts on Hale Berry playing her in a feature film. "If she had her way, she would have had Queen Latifah play her in the movie but only if she were skinnier,” says Pond.
All video used above is Courtesy of the Documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne”.
For a link to the documentary’s Facebook page, click here.