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Granny gem thief: Why does she keep (allegedly) doing it?

Notorious international jewel thief Doris Payne is back in jail, her parole revoked, after she was arrested on Tuesday for shoplifting at a Chamblee Walmart store.

Doris Payne's booking photo from July 18, 2017.

An international jewel thief is back behind bars after her arrest on Tuesday at a metro Atlanta Walmart.

Doris Payne, 86, was sent back to jail for violating her parole after her arrest at the Chamblee superstore.

11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross spoke to Payne's attorney on Wednesday.

Attorney Drew Findling says this is very out of character for her -- saying this was not some big heist, but a misdemeanor that would get most people a slap on the wrist. But Doris Payne is not "most people."

"This is not jewelry, this is not a broach, this is not diamond earrings, this is not a Presidential Rolex," Findling said. "This has nothing to do with anything that's made her an iconic American, if not an international figure."

Once arrested for stealing a $20,000 diamond, he says $86 in groceries is nothing to Doris Payne.

"Let's look at what has proven to be a pattern with her," Findling said. "None of it has anything to do with going in to a Walmart and stealing and taking the goods that an 86 year-old needs to survive day to day."

He says Payne is in failing health and calls Walmart's decision to press charges against the 86 year-old an overreaction. He says despite her crimes, Payne really is a nice person.

"So many people around the nation and the world have come to know and love her," Findling said. "She is an adorable, sweet, caring, human being. She comes in our office, she wants to make sure everyone's okay."

PHOTOS | Notorious jewelry thief Doris Payne

Online, opinions were split. Some people stuck up for her, saying she clearly needs help. Others think she belongs behind bars for her crime, no matter how small.

Findling says all he has heard is support.

"She has really established a following of people who care about her," he said. "Through social media, through phone calls, from coming to see you."

Payne has not been diagnosed with kleptomania, but we wondered if it is a legitimate legal defense.

Experts say it is not a common one, because kleptomania is extraordinarily rare. Only one-half of one percent of people have it. But there could be other factors at play in Payne's case. Was she competent at the time of the offense? Did she actually know right from wrong?

Payne said she first started stealing as a teen. Experts say that makes it hard to claim any sort of mental illness as a defense.

Findling says his client is an 86 year-old woman in failing health who may have simply forgotten to pay for the items. He points out this is a misdemeanor, and thinks the police only pursued the charges of who she is.

"This is now an 86 year-old woman who needs medicine and groceries to live day to day. I'm hoping that's not enough to result in a revoked probation or an incarceration, but rather an understanding that Doris Payne has become an elderly woman in front of our very eyes," Findling said.

She's back in jail now because Tuesday's arrest violated her probation for stealing two diamond necklaces from a store at Perimeter Mall in 2016.

Findling says she was wearing her ankle monitor and complying with all other terms of her probation at the time she was arrested.

Payne has been and out of jail for decades, and sees stealing as a sort of career.

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