Doris Payne, 79, attempted to leave a Saks Fifth Avenue store on Friday (22Jan10) without paying for a $1,300 (£8,125) Burberry trenchcoat.
Payne, who was on parole for past thefts when she was caught, is currently in custody without bail.
Berry will portray the career thief, who has robbed gem stores around the world, in new biopic Who Is Doris Payne?
The Oscar winner has been working on the project for over two years with former Malcolm In The Middle star Berfield, who secured the rights to Payne’s life story after meeting her in jail in 2006.
Payne, who is known as The Grandmother Thief, has spent much of her adult life pulling off some of the biggest gem heists around the globe.
Berfield previously told WENN, “Doris was a jewel thief for six decades and worked all over the world. Doris is a magnificent woman and she’s incredibly intelligent.”