Former Salem teacher facing charges for pawning jewelry
Stephen Pierce, 47, a former eighth-grade teacher at Woodbury School, is facing a felony count of receiving stolen property for pawning various items of jewelry from March 15 to April, according to the indictment.
The jewelry was sold to a pawn shop in Salem, prosecutors said.
The new charge comes months after Pierce pleaded guilty to stealing a Nikon camera from the school district. The camera was used for an after-school yearbook program.
Pierce received a seven-day suspended jail sentence in that case.
Salem Police Officer Bob Genest, who first investigated the camera theft, undertook a larger review of pawn slips going back to 2010. Genest's review uncovered a pattern of Pierce allegedly selling off roughly 40 pieces of jewelry, valued at more than $33,000, that had been stolen from an Atkinson couple, police said.
The indictment returned by the grand jury includes only charges related to items Pierce allegedly sold to a Salem pawn shop for a little over a year.
The school camera was taken sometime around April 9, and led police to scrutinize items that Pierce had sold to pawn shops in Salem and Plaistow, according to court records.
Atkinson police say they were later contacted by an Atkinson couple, friends of Pierce who were concerned about jewelry that went missing from their house.
That resulted in Pierce being charged with misdemeanor theft by Atkinson police.
Through records checks, Plaistow police determined that Pierce pawned two watches belonging to the couple at Rockingham Trading Post in Plaistow on March 30.
Pierce turned himself in on July 16 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He remains free on $1,000 bail.
The felony charge pending in superior court is punishable by up to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison.