Doris Payne
Doris Payne was charged with theft after allegedly stealing a pair of earrings from an Atlanta department storeHandout

Legendary jewellery thief Doris 'Diamond' Payne, 85, has been charged with stealing a $690 (£451 €624) pair of earrings from a department store in Atlanta. She was arrested after a store guard saw her pocketing the earrings and leaving the store, according to police.

Payne was caught stealing a pair of Christian Dior earrings from a Saks Fifth Avenue store on Thursday, said police. She was charged with shoplifting and released on bond on Tuesday, October 27.

"Ms. Payne is a career criminal that has been arrested multiple times for stealing high-end jewellery," Atlanta police said in a statement confirming her arrest.

Payne has admitted to carrying out jewellery thefts across several continents over several decades, and in a 2013 documentary, The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne, described her exploits, but claimed she had put a life of crime behind her.

After being taken into custody on Thursday, she was released on a $2,500 bond on Tuesday, according to prison records.

The Mecklenberg County Sheriff's Office has also issued a warrant for Payne's arrest, following the theft of a $33,000 ring from a jewellery store in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2014, Payne pleaded guilty to stealing a $22,500 diamond ring from a Southern California jewellery store, the Los Angeles Times reported. As part of her punishment she was made to stay away from jewellery stores.

Payne stands apart as a jewellery thief, Jewellers' Security Alliance president John J Kennedy told the Associated Press: "It's extraordinarily rare for a criminal to have that lengthy (sic) of a career."

"Usually they either stop because they have enough money and they don't want the risk anymore, or they're dead."