Her "glittering" career has spanned over 50 years.
She has allegedly stolen from some of the most famous jewellery shops, from New York to Monte Carlo to Tokyo and Paris.
Doris Marie Payne, now 83, is already the subject of a documentary and is set to be played by Halle Berry in a feature film.
She was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly stealing a US$22,000 (S$27,000) ring from a jewellery store in Palm Desert, California, KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles reported. The theft took place about two weeks ago.
She has supposedly stolen US$2 million worth of jewels in her lifetime, laist.com reported.
The arrest is great publicity for the new documentary about her, The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne, which was screened at the Austin Film Festival in Texas. The festival ran from Oct 24-31.
"People have called her a sociopath, a psychopath. I would say in the common understanding of narcissism, yes, she is a narcissist," the documentary's co-director, Matthew Pond, told NBC 6.
Payne was born in the South in the segregated '30s, said Mr Pond, and decided to have the kind of life that society wasn't going to let her have, even if it meant stealing to get it.
"Here we are again. I honestly can't say whether or not she'll steal again," said Mr Pond of her latest arrest.
He told the Desert Sun she had sworn to him never to steal again because she didn't want to go back to jail.
Mr Pond told the Sun that Payne occasionally threw away jewellery she'd stolen.
He said: "In her mind, she's a teenager at heart."
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