80-Year-Old 'Cat Burglar's' Last Heist in Half Century of Crime

For the better part of a century, 80-year-old Doris Thompson has made a life on the wrong side of the law.

Thompson, from Los Angeles, proudly pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison for burglary Wednesday, rounding out a worn rap sheet that was started when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.

Thompson was arrested Feb. 4 for burglarizing a pediatrician group's office of everything from cash to stamps in late December. According to deputy assistant district attorney Paulette Paccione, Thompson offered no defense and tried to plead guilty at her arraignment.

"She said, 'I do these things. I plead guilty. I do my time like a lady,'" Paccione told ABC News.

Thompson's first known arrest in 1955 was for disturbing the peace. What followed was a 55-year crime spree that included 34 arrests, nine prison sentences and the use of 26 aliases. Thompson has been convicted of several thefts, a forgery and even a prison escape -- she snuck out in 1984 while serving a 30-day sentence. She returned the next year after a petty theft conviction.

"She's been involved in the criminal justice system for a very long time," said Sgt. Jeremiah Hart of the Torrance, Calif., police department. "Definitely a different one... and I'm sure there's more that she's gotten away with."

Nearly six decades after her first arrest, Thompson is nice as can be, even when she's caught, Paccione said.

"She's not malicious or anything. This is just what she does," she said with a chuckle. "In the courtroom she was very matter-of-fact. There was no remorse. It was like, 'This is who I am.' But not in a bad way.

"In all the years I've been doing this, she stands out."

When she was sentenced to three years, Paccione said Thompson thanked the judge and told the court she deserved much worse.

Cops: 80-Year-Old 'Cat Burglar' Dons a Wig in Heists

Investigators said Thompson has been using the same bizarre, well-planned tactics to burglarize doctors' offices for years.

"Her M.O. is to take her little black purse, she puts in her little chisels and screwdrivers," Paccione said. "She puts on a wig, walks around hallways and staircases and then waits in the bathroom until all the employees go home. Then she comes out and pries things open."

Thompson doesn't seem to discriminate when it comes to loot. Her latest heist netted her $400 in cash; $25 in stamps; a device, worth several thousand dollars, used to test the ears of hearing-impaired children; and a plastic urine container with about $2 in change, according to Hart.

Thompson was caught when one of the Terrance police officers recognized her on a surveillance video from another bulletin from the Beverly Hills Police Department in 2008, Hart said. Working together, the police identified Thompson as Doris Gamble, one of her aliases.

She was also wanted for the 2005 burglary of offices in the same building complex.

"It's really rare to see an 80-year-old woman doing cat burglaries," Hart said.

But after a life of crime, Paccione said Thompson told her she was done.

"She said, 'I'm 80 years old. I'm going to go from the prison to the morgue,'" Paccione told us.

Thompson was last represented by a public defender who did not return ABC News' calls for comment on this report.

Thompson is booked in Los Angeles' Twin Towers Correctional Facility, awaiting transfer to a state prison. Administrators at the prison were confused when ABC News contacted them for information on Thompson -- her booking file had five names.

The Daily Breeze contributed to this report. Click here to visit The Daily Breeze Web site.